Dear Students of AUP,

We, faculty and staff of AUP, have been following and participating in the Black Lives Matter demonstrations and debates taking place in the US, in France and around the world, as well as online. Some of our current and former Black students have shared stories of the discrimination, microaggressions, injustice and alienation they have experienced at AUP. Many feel erased – quite simply that Black lives don’t matter enough at AUP, in classrooms and curricula, in the ranks of faculty and administrative staff, and in meetings and conversations across campus. We recognize our responsibility for allowing this to happen at AUP. We have fallen short of showing everywhere and always that Black lives matter, that the lives of all people of color and all minoritized people matter.

This is our promise to you: every one of us, in our various ways, will work hard to make sure that AUP does not just pride itself on its diversity and inclusivity but also lives up to that ambitious self-image. We commit to treating Black students and other students of color with respect and to welcoming them into our community with the same warmth and dignity as everyone else. We commit to double our efforts to fight racism and discrimination wherever it occurs, inside or outside the classroom, and to be there for Black students and other minoritized students whenever support is needed.

Galvanized by the strength of Black leaders and mentors, including AUP students and alumni, we are working hard this summer to bring about real change at AUP. Here’s where we have started focusing our efforts:

  1. The creation of a Diversity Council composed of students, faculty and staff to lead our efforts and serve the community. It will provide support for anyone who has experienced discrimination or has observed such behavior and wishes to do something about it. The council will begin its work immediately this summer.
  2. Anti-racist and diversity training for faculty and staff. We are exploring the best ways to improve our ability to support and respect Black students and other students of color.
  3. Modifications to the curriculum. We are reviewing our course offerings across the curriculum and finding ways to highlight and amplify anti-racist voices in our teaching.
  4. Faculty hiring. We recognize the importance of having Black faculty and are working with the administration on long-term ways of rectifying this glaring absence.
  5. Opportunities for activism in France. We are strengthening our ties with anti-racist organizations in France to allow faculty and students to be more involved with activism locally.
  6. Scholarships. We are working with the Office of Admissions to find sustainable ways to fund more scholarships for Black students and other students of color.
  7. Black student representation. We are liaising with the student government to encourage and support initiatives for the distinctive representation of Black students.
  8. Communication. We are building sustainable platforms and expanding channels that can help us to communicate better about resources, initiatives and anti-racism support at AUP. We aim to facilitate constructive dialogue among all members of the AUP community.

Our project is ambitious and ongoing. Communication with you, our students, is crucial in making these initiatives relevant and sustainable. Your professors, advisors and counselors are here for you. Please talk to us. We hope we can gain your trust enough for you to identify any issues you face and help us protect all of you from indignity and discomfort. We care, and we will act – by listening to you, by learning with you, and, crucially, by implementing concrete changes to address these issues, thereby making the University a better place for everyone.

Signed by the faculty and staff of AUP

Diversity Council
Coordinating Efforts Across the University

The Diversity Council supports a culture of ever-greater diversity, equity, and inclusion at AUP.  It functions as an advisory council and recommending body to the President and Provost, as a liaison to departments across the University, and as an advocate for all members of the AUP community who feel they have experienced bias or discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.

The newly formed Diversity Council consists of two faculty (Michelle Kuo and Evelyn Odonkor), two staff members (Jaime Chatfield and Alexis Dang) and two students (Krystel Nozier and Maura Partrick). The Council coordinates all the initiatives being taken across campus, communicates them to internal and external constituents, and serves as trained advocates for any member of our community who wishes to come forth with experiences of bias or discrimination.  Members of the Diversity Council receive anti-bias, diversity and inclusion training, with special emphasis on how to handle student, faculty and staff grievances as advocates.

The Council, elected by the AUP community to serve the community, coordinates efforts with departments and units across the University and reports its findings and recommendations to the President and Provost.  

It is charged with:

  1. Promoting knowledge, the development of skills, and institutional practices to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus.
  2. Recommending strategic initiatives, programs, speakers, and other University activities to bring attention and focus to the analysis of systemic bias and discrimination.
  3. Liaising with the Office of Communications to coordinate and communicate initiatives being taken across the University community in an effort to create a culture of dialogue and learning around the multitude of differences that define our community.
  4. Liaising with the task force working on anti-bias training for faculty, staff, and students, ensuring this becomes a regular practice at AUP.
  5. Liaising with the Office of the Provost regarding the improvement of practices related to recruitment, retention, and promotion of diverse faculty and staff.
  6. Liaising with the Admissions working group on Diversity and Inclusion to improve practices related to recruitment, retention, and support of students of color. 
  7. Serving as trained advocates for students, faculty and staff who have experienced bias or discrimination, liaising with the appropriate University office (Student Development, Human Resources, Office of the Provost) to ensure a prompt and fair hearing and appropriate institutional responses; liaise with the Office of the President and the Office of Student Development to review, clarify, and improve grievance policies and procedures.
  8. Liaising with the Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Assessment (OIE) in order to analyze available data on institutional diversity.

Creation and Composition of the Council

  • The AUP Diversity Council members will consist of two faculty, two staff members, and two students.  Faculty and staff members will be elected for a term of two years by their peers after an open nomination (including self-nomination) process. 
  • In the first year of the Council’s establishment, the two student representatives will be appointed by consensus of the Undergraduate Student Council (USC) and the Graduate Student Council (GSC), while a process of amending the Student Constitution to include elected Diversity Officer positions is carried out.  Student members will be elected for one year, but may be re-elected for a second year. 
  • The AUP Diversity Council will nominate and elect a Council member to serve as chair.
  • In the first year of the Council’s establishment, members will meet on a schedule of their own making, and will meet at least every two months with the President and Provost. 
  • The Diversity Council will begin its work by discussing and finalizing the draft charter.
  • At the end of the first year of operations, an assessment of the Council’s composition, activities and effectiveness will take place in an effort to improve and modify its structure, charge, reach, and principal activities.

Course List
Fall 2020

The faculty of The American University of Paris want to take this opportunity to highlight courses for Fall 2020 that deal with subjects related to race, racial injustice, social injustice, Black culture and history, and more. Additional technical solutions are being explored to establish processes that students can use to identify such courses in an easier way. 

CL1099 – Writing Masculinities 1984/2020

Professor Geoff Gilbert

  • Mehdi Charef, Le The au harem d’archi ahmed (in relation to the marche contre les inégalités/SOS racisme)
  • Cornell West (writing on Jesse Jackson’s presidential campaign (1984); and speaking in 2020)
  • Audre Lorde (‘Eye to Eye’ and ‘The Master’s Tools’ (1984))
  • bell hooks, From Margin to Center (1984)
  • General comparative intersectional discussion about masculinities in 1984/2020
CL/LI2091 – Migration: Local and Global

Professor Rebekah Rast

This course considers how we as humans navigate through different spaces and languages. In the case of human migration, languages often come into contact, spurring linguistic diversity and changes to speech communities. Multilingual communities develop, and often multiple identities are constructed. At the same time, we often observe discrimination through linguistic profiling, marginalization, and resistance to diversity and change. Decisions about policies, social justice and education come into play, affecting the migrants themselves and the societies into and through which they move. This course addresses questions about language issues faced by first-generation migrants and their children, including how linguistic diversity affects access to employment, education and health care. A practical component of the course involves engaging directly with students and teachers in junior high schools that welcome migrant youth and other newcomers to France, specifically those who have little to no knowledge of French language and culture. By combining theoretical reflection and practical experience, the course introduces students to key issues in migration, provides a framework for understanding and analysing these issues, and presents an opportunity to collaborate with others in identifying challenges related to migration and proposing solutions.

CL3035 – Contemporary World Literature

Professor Daniel Medin

  • Samanta Schweblin (Argentina), tr. Megan McDowell: Little Eyes
  • Adania Shibli (Palestine), tr. Elisabeth Jacquette: Minor Detail
  • Patrice Nganang (Cameroon), tr. Amy B. Reid: When the Plums Are Ripe
  • Duanwad Pimwana (Thailand), tr. Mui Poopoksakul: Arid Dreams
  • Yu Miri (Japan), tr. Morgan Giles: Tokyo Ueno Station
  • Siri Ranva Hjelm Jacobsen (Faroe Islands/Denmark), tr. Caroline Waight: Island

Additional readings may include short fiction or excerpts from recently translated/published works by the following authors: Etger Keret (Israel), Sema Kaygusuz (Turkey), Hoda Barakat (Lebanon), Leslie Nneka Arimah (Nigeria), Djaimilia Pereira de Almeida (Angola), Jayant Kaikini (India), Can Xue (China), Fernanda Melchor (Mexico), Nona Fernández (Chile), Mariana Enríquez (Argentina), Yevgenia Belorusets (Ukraine), Esther Kinsky (Germany).

The focus of this course is contemporary fiction from around the world, with an emphasis on non-speaking English populations. That said, the material is culturally and linguistically diverse, and the content of several assigned works directly addresses issues such as race, identity and history.

EN1000 – Locating Difference: Class, Race and Gender, and the Shaping of Social Inequalities

Professor Ann Mott

  • Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart
  • Mathieu Kassoivtz, La Haine
  • Laurent Cantet, The Class (Entre les Murs)
  • Fernando Ferreira Meirelles, City of God
  • Asghar Farhadi, A Separation

Class, race and gender represent three of the most powerful principles in the development of cultural ideology worldwide. Even though each culture constructs their views on these differently, that construction has almost always resulted in some form of structured inequality. 

This semester our literature and films focus on the falling apart of a society’s social fabric, resulting in loss of identity, apathy and social conflict, and sometimes disintegration.  Depending on the social norms and culture, breakdowns may occur in the form of violence, intimidation, strikes, crime, family breakdown, drug addiction, and corruption. Our literature and films will take us from ancient Greece to the Igbo tribe in Nigeria; from the banlieues in Paris to the favelas in Rio; and from Teheran to Los Angeles, and will offer rare glimpses into both traditional and contemporary societies inviting us to investigate the different ways we ‘know’ the world and ourselves and the many ways we deceive ourselves about what we think we know. 

EN1010E – College Writing: Reading Matter, Writing Matter

Professor Geoff Gilbert

  • Claudia Rankine, Don’t Let Me Be Lonely
  • Amitav Ghosh, The Great Derangement (offers a reading of climate change which argues that we can’t understand climate change unless we decenter the west)
EN1010C – Family Matters

Professor Ann Mott

  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah
  • James Baldwin, “Sonny’s Blues”
  • Alice Walker, “Everyday Use for Your Grandmama”
  • Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” These lines by Leo Tolstoy in Anna Karenina point to the often contorted and always intense connection between individuals and the families to which they belong.   This College Writing course will explore the way different characters respond to the family pressures which alternately define, nourish, and sometimes smother them.   Why is family, or the ‘idea’ of family so important to writers?  Has this importance changed over the centuries or remained constant? Is the 'happy' family simply a myth? What do family members owe to each other?  How important are family heritage and tradition?  And what happens to the mythic ‘happy family’ when alcohol, betrayal, jealousy, mid-life crisis or desertion/neglect rear their ugly heads? We will explore the challenges characters face when forced to choose between family and authority in Sophocles’s Antigone and Ashghar Farhadi’s A Separation, the detrimental effects of either neglecting family or being neglected by family in Shelley’s Frankenstein, and how the powerful moments in each of our lives coalesce to shape our identities and define our fates in works by James Baldwin, Alice Walker, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Barry Jenkins.  

EN1010 – The Creative Self

Professor Linda Martz

However pleasurable we may find them, the creative arts require discipline, focus, and commitment to achieve excellence. How do people fall in love with their art? What pushes them to make the sacrifices necessary to excel in creative fields? What does it mean to make art if what you want to express with it challenges the values of your community? The texts for this course explore the motivations of artists, dancers, musicians and actors with fiction set in a variety of contexts, from post-war Japan to 19th century Denmark to contemporary Brooklyn, and by a range of creator protagonists including Afro-Caribbean Londoners, Soviet Kyrgyz villagers, and a Hassidic Jew. Readings include Margaret Atwood, Stone Mattress; Zadie Smith, Swing Time; Kazuo Ishiguro, An Artist of the Floating World; Chaim Potok, My Name is Asher Lev; Chingiz Aitmantov, Jamilia, and Kevin Wilson, The Family Fang.

EN1010 – Disobedience

Professor Sneharika Roy

In our world of increased activism, protests and acts of civil disobedience, this course asks what it means to be disobedient. Can disobedience on a personal and political level be the “right” thing to do? We start with Sophocles’ Antigone, considered by legal scholars as “the archetype of civil disobedience,” and move into a contemporary rewriting of the Antigone story in the context of the war in Afghanistan with Joydeep Bhattacharya Roy’s The Watch. We then backtrack into a Christian universe that “punishes” Black moors (Shakespeare’s Othello), pagans and Muslims (Dante’s Inferno), and “freedom-fighters” who challenge God’s authority (Satan in Milton’s Paradise Lost). Finally, in a world of Photoshop, we look at Grace Nichols’ celebration of non-normative body types in her deliberately defiant Fat Black Woman’s Poems. She shows how, for a person triply marginalised by race, gender and body size, disobedience is nothing less than a declaration of personal independence. We will read and write about disobedience not as a stable, fixed concept but as a constructed category, defined by the powerful to exercise authority – but also constantly redefined by the disobedient in order to bring about personal transformation and social change.                  

EN1010B – College Writing

Professor Dan Gunn

  • Frank Kafka, Selected Stories
  • Muriel Spark, The Driver’s Seat
  • Henry James, The Turn of the Screw
EN2020 – Business and Economics in Literature

Professor Sneharika Roy

Can business practices in Islamic, Christian, Hindu and Confucian contexts really be the stuff of literature? From Sindbad the Muslim merchant-adventurer to Shylock the Jewish moneylender, from Crusoe the island-entrepreneur and his “black” slave Friday to the British domination of Indian and Chinese populations (and their domestic markets) in nineteenth-century Asia – business has been an enduring theme of literature across centuries and cultures.

EN2020 – Questioning the Self

Professor David Tresilian

‘What a piece of work is a man. How noble in reason. How infinite in faculty. In form and moving how express and admirable. In action how like an angel. In apprehension how like a god.’ Hamlet’s words from Shakespeare’s play express optimism about human possibilities, ironically placing them in the mouth of one of the dramatist’s most self-conflicted protagonists. This course will look at a range of works with such self-questioning in mind. Who am I? What am I? What kinds of relationship do I have with others? Even with myself? It starts with Antigone, a work of ancient Greek tragedy having much to say about social and moral bonds. Hamlet introduces the liberal themes of self and society, separating private conscience from public roles and the range of selves presented to others. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, written against the background of the Industrial Revolution in Europe and the growth of the factory system, poses the question of human possibilities anew, this time in terms of scientific discovery.  Freud’s ‘Fragment of an Analysis of a Case of Hysteria’ and Woolf’s Room of One’s Own present new ways of writing about the self, whether in terms of psychoanalysis or against the background of political and social change, while Tayeb Salih’s Season of Migration to the North draws together themes of self and society, identity and social change, in the context of colonial and post-colonial Sudan.

HI/LW2030 – Introduction to History, Law, and Society

Professor Michelle Kuo

What role does law play in shaping society? What strategies have people taken to resist unjust laws? The first half of course begins with a survey of social theorists such as Marx, Tocqueville, Durkheim, Foucault, and DuBois. The second half of the course explores topics such as the movement against the Fugitive Slave Law in the 1850s; the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s; contemporary movements in relation to asylum, detention, and deportation; and movements connected to Black Lives Matter, including restorative justice, police defunding, and prison abolition. Readings include McCleskey v. Kemp (on the racial disparity of people given the death penalty), Mae Ngai, Robert Cover, Malcolm X, Dorothy Roberts, and Angela Davis. By the end of this course, students will be able to apply critical approaches to the law to contemporary issues; perform a mock trial, from start to finish; and write persuasive and analytically rigorous papers that demonstrate interdisciplinary thinking.  The course culminates in a mock trial on issues of immigration and criminal law. This course fulfills the GE 110 requirement.

HI/PL2091 – Reason in Dark Times: Past and Present of the Enlightenment

Professors Albert Wu and Julian Culp

Today the Enlightenment project stands at a crossroads. The rise of populist and nationalist movements, human-induced dangerous climate change and the asymmetric post-colonial relationships between the West and “the Rest” seriously put into question several of the  Enlightenment’s core commitments such as the moral ideas of freedom and equality, democratic politics, social progress and the scientifically-informed, rational control of the natural environment. The course will examine not only the historical origin and development of the Enlightenment ideas and their institutional manifestations, but also possible solutions to the contemporary challenges that engaged global citizens perhaps should pursue.

  • The course engages with the ways in which Enlightenment thought, with its emphasis on progress and civilization, is implicated in colonialism, imperialism and the formation of racism.
  • The course studies how thinkers like Tocqueville and Mill have used Enlightenment ideas to justify French and British colonialism and imperialism, and how thinkers from Algeria, Tunisia and India, including Fanon, Memmi and Gandhi, have criticized colonialism and imperialism.
HI/LW3091 – Punishment, Race, and the Law

Professor Michelle Kuo

This course explores how race has shaped criminal justice and immigration detention. We approach contemporary issues with attention to historical and legal perspectives, tracing the relationship between race and punishment. Topics include laws criminalizing poverty, birthright citizenship, the separation of children from mothers, immigrant exclusion, deportation of immigrants convicted of crimes, and the struggle to re-integrate formerly incarcerated people. Although this course focuses on American history and law, we will also spend a significant time discussing law and colonialism. Students are also encouraged to do final research papers on topics of their choice. Readings include legal opinions and dissents, Dorothy Roberts, Didier Fassin, David Garland, Loic Wacquant, Michelle Alexander, Lisa Ford, James Forman, Jr., Bruce Western, Jeremy Bentham, Michel Foucault, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and Angela Davis.

PL1100 – History of Philosophy I

Professor Jula Wildberger

The course will look at sources of anthropological and ethical/moral essentialism, often an essentialism that has its roots in a certain conception of human biology and the human body. This semester, I will pay particular attention to the way in which this kind of thought has been used to ground racist and discriminatory thinking and practices – but also discourses about identity. Overall, I’ll frame this as thinking about how different philosophical approaches take an objective perspective, telling you who you are and what your goals inevitably must be, in the famous classics (Plato, Aristotle, Neoplatonism, and their monotheistic successors), while other approaches (the Hellenistic Stoics, Epicureans, Skeptics) try to develop ideas that highlight the subjective perspective, that no one is able to tell you who you are and what you ought to be if not yourself.

PL2041 – Environmental Ethics

Professor Jula Wildberger

In contrast to other branches of environmental philosophy, this course focuses on issues from the viewpoint of the individual agent: their obligations, their explicit and their implicit values and commitment to principles both reasoned out by themselves and inherited in their respective tradition. How is this connected to issues race and diversity? Most directly, there is the well-known problem of environmental injustice, that both within highly industrialized countries and in the so-called developing world, people of color are the ones whose livelihood is destroyed, who must drink the polluted water, near whose neighborhood the toxic waste is dumped. Similarly, those least responsible for global heating are the ones suffering most of its effects, and when they then seek a new livelihood in the countries that have emitted all those greenhouse gases, they are dehumanized and treated as a wave of dangerous invaders. And there is more of that king. We will look at numerous examples, partly adduced by students in their projects, partly presented as part of the course material.

More indirectly, but maybe even more importantly, because this kind of thinking perpetuates and feeds systemic discrimination and social harm, we will analyze, reveal, and critique implicit racism in many arguments and, as I would call them, tropes of reasoning in environmental philosophy, such as discussions of population growth in the vein of Hardin’s famous “Tragedy of the Commons”. Other topics to unpack are, e.g., how slavery is adduced to argue for animal rights, the idea that harm is always a matter of personal responsibility, how conservation thinking and the idea of ‘untouched’ nature tends to elide the rights of local inhabitants of that ‘wilderness’ to be preserved.

PO2003 – Political Philosophy

Professor Philip Golub

This introductory course in Political Philosophy (PP) aims to give students an overview of and insight into the crucial critical debates that have shaped understandings of the political in the modern era. Political Philosophy has been defined as the investigation into the nature, causes and effects of good and bad government. It seeks, through systematic conceptual and empirical enquiry, to understand how human societies are organized and structured, to elucidate and oftentimes to challenge existing patterns of power and the unequal distribution of material and symbolic resources. Different PP perspectives offer diverse answers to questions regarding the State, individual and collective freedoms and rights, forms of government, citizenship, and so on. These answers reflect different visions of “human nature” and society and carry diverging normative commitments on issues such as equality, individual liberty, women’s and minority rights, obedience and disobedience, multiculturalism and universalism (human rights). Students will be exposed to classical studies as well as more current critical interpretations.

PY2013 – Understanding Human Development

Professor Jens Brockmeier

  • Social, economic, and ethnic trajectories of human development
  • Various cultural models of human development
  • Interaction of evolutionary and cultural development
FirstBridge – Mothers and Others: Human Sex, Sexuality, and Mating Systems from Evolutionary and Feminist Perspectives
  • IDISC1099 CCIFB4 – Human Evolution and Motherhood (Professor Elena Berg)
  • CL1099 CCIFB4 – Motherhood: Promise or Peril (Professor Elizabeth Kinne)

We will be answering all the questions you never dared ask your mother: why do human beings have sex? Why are there males and females and what is gender anyway? How do bodies get pregnant? Does female orgasm have an evolutionary biological purpose? Get frank, scientifically grounded answers to these questions and more from interspecies and intersectional perspectives as a biologist and feminist scholar debunk the idea of maternal instinct because what it means to be a mother depends on what animal you are and where you are. In this course, we will address questions about human sexuality and mating systems from diverse perspectives. We'll read texts by scholars of color and members of the LGBTQ community, question cultural biases that limit our conception of kinship, and dismantle racist, sexist, and heterosexual / gender normative assumptions of what "family" is.

Latin and Ancient Greek

Professor Jula Wildberger

LT1001, LT1002, LT2001, LT3050, CL3050, CL4050, GK1005, GK1006, GK2005, GK3070, GK4070, LT4070, CL3070, CL4070

One key topic addressed from beginner’s level is slavery. Classical antiquity is instructive here in various ways: the slaves and racism works differently from today because it is directed also at ethnicities which are now placed on the hegemonic, colonial side of discrimination; a host of literary texts allow us to analyze how suppression and exploitation go hand in hand with dehumanization – even in authors that argue for the equality of slaves; we can also see how the racist and discriminatory thinking of the ancient authors is often perpetuated uncritically in modern reception.

Community Voices
By AUP students and alumni

Members of the AUP community frequently work on and write about issues related to racial and social justice. Below we have compiled a list of student organizations and articles related to these subjects. If you are an AUP student or alumna/us and want to add your work to the list, please contact

Student Organizations
  • Black and Abroad (AUP Engage and Instagram)
  • Diversity Club (AUP Engage and Instagram)
  • History, Law and Society Board 
  • Other organizations, including student publications, may work on activism. Search them all here.

You can contact Safia Benyahia ( or the Student Leadership Office ( if you need help getting in touch with one of these groups.

Articles by Students
Articles by Alumni

For the Community

Reporting an Incident

The University is committed to supporting community members who experience incidents of racism or bias. The grievance reporting procedure is outlined in full in the Student Handbook. Students can raise an incident with the University in several ways:

  1. By reaching out directly to the Dean of Student Development, Kevin Fore (, or the Vice President and Dean of Student Services, Marc Monthéard ( Incidents will then be escalated to the Conduct Board, who will decide on any appropriate action.
  2. Students can raise an incident with AUP's guidance counselors, who are available for confidential consultations on any subject. With the student's permission, the guidance counselors can then escalate the incident to the Dean of Student Development.
  3. Students can raise concerns directly with AUP's newly-formed Diversity Council. This elected committee includes representatives from the student, staff and faculty bodies and deals directly with issues of diversity and racial justice at the University. More information about how to raise an incident with the Diversity Council will be available soon.

Mental Health Support

AUP's guidance counselors are also available for confidential mental health support and, in addition, can provide referrals to mental health specialists, including to Black therapists and therapists of color.

Below is a collection of resources related to racial justice and Black history and culture gathered by the faculty and staff of AUP.

Films, Shows and Videos
Readings: Books


Readings: Journals, Articles and E-books