M.A. Essay

The Master’s essay, written in English, consists of a minimum of 50 pages, a bibliography and notes.

The Director of Studies meets with students individually throughout the year and, with support of Visiting Columbia Faculty, helps them to define their objectives and to plan their research activities. M.A. students are paired with an advisor specializing in the field from a leading French graduate school, with whom they meet regularly.

Stipends are offered by Columbia to allow students to conduct independent research- for example, at the Archives nationales d’outre-mer (Colonial archives) in Aix-en Provence or the Archives at the British Library in London- or to attend international conferences closely related to their subject.

M.A. Essay Picture
Photo: Collin Benedict

M.A. Calendar

September-October:  Regular meetings and intensive readings. 

Early November: Written presentation of subjects (Max 500 words)
1- Summarize what brought you to this subject and the evolution of your work to its current state
2- Present a working hypothesis and methodology, taking into account if possible research you have done illustrating what has been written on the subject. Do not hesitate to discuss your alternative perspectives.
3- Present your corpus of documents (the types of work with which you are working) as precisely as possible.
4- Bibliography (primary and secondary sources)

Mid-November: Student oral presentations before audience.
The audience will consist of Columbia, EHESS, and ENS professors who will all have around 15 minutes to ask questions and offer suggestions.

December 5:  Final version of the topic.

Mid December - End of January: Meeting with a potential thesis advisor. At the end of January, all students will have an advisor.

Mid January 12- End of April: Research Seminar 

Mid-June:  Oral presentation « work in progress »
 with all students, thesis advisors,  teachers who taught in the program, Gregory Mann, Director of the program and Christine Valero, Associate Director of Studies.

August  25:   
Thesis deadline.

Example Essays

  • Luz Colpa: “Tumultous Times, Common Ground: An Oral History of the N’Diaye Marriage” under the direction of Christelle Taraud (Columbia University Paris).
  • Ethan Darden: “Contesting Roland: The Quests for National Identity in Nineteenth and Twentieth Century France and Spain” under the direction of Patrick Henriet (École Pratique des Hautes Études).
  • Gerald Devotta: “Reframing the Visual or the Examination of Amorous Images in French Contemporary Cinema” under the direction of Fabien Delmas (Université Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée).
  • Kate Frenz: “Evaluating Language Policy on Behalf of Morocco’s Imazighen” under the direction of Pierre Vermeren ( Université Paris 1-Pantheon Sorbonne).
  • Robert Fyke: “Historical facts and historical processes in cognitive science texts” under the direction of Florent Jakob (Columbia University Paris).
  • Serge Ngwanza: “Violence in North Kivu Province: A Collusion of Grievances, Alliances, and Cleavages ” under the direction of Remy Bazenguissa-Ganga (École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales).
  • Ani Ohanian: “Napoleon and his Mameluk: Unvieling the Orient” under the direction of Jean-Luc Chappey (Université de Paris 1- Panthéon-Sorbonne).
  • Monique Rubins: “1959: A Year to Remember” under the direction of Judith Lyon-Caen (École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales)
  • Anna Salzman: “Travel Impressions: Scaling Barriers of Genre in the 19th Century French Alps” under the direction of Judith Lyon-Caen (École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales)
  • Jilene Chua: “The Business of Black Paris: Josephine Baker’s cosmetics, 1926-1940” under the direction of Christelle Taraud (Centre d’histoire du XIXème siècle).
  • Mary-Lucia Darst: “Between Heaven and Hell: Philosophy, Culture, and Richard Strauss’ Salome” under the direction of Danielle Cohen-Levinas (Université Paris-Sorbonne).
  • Eva-Maria Ghelardi: “The Origins Of  International Embassies: How The Individualism of A French King and a Milanese Duke Altered Modern Diplomacy” under the direction of Patrick Boucheron (Université Paris1-Pantheon Sorbonne/ Collège de France).
  • Laura Lopez : “Writing, Gender and Authority in Nineteenth Century Colombia, the Example of Soledad Acosta” under the direction of Anne Tomiche ( Université Paris-Sorbonne).
  • James Nash : “Engagé à la dérive : A Poetics of Interruption in Georges Bataille’s Le Bleu du ciel ” under the direction of Professor Laurent Zimmermann (Université Paris-Denis Diderot)
  • Evelyn Pappas : “Athens:Raising The (Un)Dead” under the direction of Marie-Elisaberth Mitsou (Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales).
  • Sydney Sawyier : “The “Words of the Future”: Independence, the Trusteeship System and the Discourse of Decolonization1945-1955” under the direction of Catarina Madeira-Santos (Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales).
  • Katherine Sinclair : “From the Petit Parisien to the Journal officiel: Albert Londres, Au bagne, and the Interwar Discourse of Prison Reform” under the direction of Dominique Kalifa (Université Paris 1-Pantheon Sorbonne).
  • Clare Tonks : “Assistance From An Adversary: The French Émigré Experience In England According To Charlotte Smith” under the direction of Alexis Tadié (Université Paris Sorbonne).
  • Ghita Wahdani: “Architecture of the Revolution: Ledoux’s La Saline Royale of Chaux” under the direction of Linnea Tilly-Rollenhagen (AUSer-Ecole nationale supérieure d’architecture Paris-Belleville).
  • Elizabeth Albes: “Drawn to Disaster : The Aesthetic Appeal of the Ruins of Post-Commune Paris” under the direction of Martine Lavaud (Université Paris-Sorbonne).
  • Kimberly Coates: “Experimental Ground for Moral Situations : La Nausée de J-P. Sartre, L’Elégance du hérisson de Muriel Barbery, Les Belles mages de Simone de Beauvoir.” under the direction of Françoise Gaillard (Université Paris-Denis Diderot).
  • Lucile Culver: “From Architecture to Architext : The Urban Construction of Intimacy in Georges Perec’s La Vie mode d’emploi and Julio Cortazar’s Rayuela” under the direction of Dominique Rabaté (Université Paris-Denis Diderot).
  • Rebecca Dehner: “Translation or Re-Creation : The Masochistic Self-Translator and the Search for the Third Tongue”under the direction of Stephanie Schwerter (Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales).
  • John Finkelberg: “The Chambige Affair”under the direction of Judith Lyon-Caen (Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales).
  • Caio Ferreira: “Magnificent Achievements and Noble Endurances : On Exemplarity and the Usefulness of  History from Polybius to Voltaire”under the direction of Bertrand Binoche (University Paris1–Pantheon Sorbonne).
  • Mengqing Han: “The Bayeux Tapestry as a Tragedy”under the direction of Olivier de La Borderie (Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales).
  • Thomas Hedges: “Abandoning the Banlieue : 1970-1998” under the direction of Cédric Moreau de Bellaing (Ecole normale supérieure).
  • Alexa Hight: “The Estate Not Gained : The Rôle of the Country Estate in Three Works by Jane Austen Mansfield Park, Persuasion and Sanditon” under the direction of Marc Porée (Ecole normale supérieure).
  • Lauren Jannette : “Mata Hari in the Eyes of French Journalists”under the direction of Emmanuel Saint-Fuscien (Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales).
  • Jiyae Hwang: “A Man’s story, a woman’s story : interracial relations in colonial Vietnam in French Literature  and Vietnamese Francophone Literature” under the direction of Claire Tran Thi Lien (Universite  Paris 7-Denis Diderot / INALCO).
  • Inyoung Kang: “La Vie Privée by Vivette Perret : Witnessing of an Era” under the direction of Patrick Eveno (Université Paris1-Pantheon Sorbonne).
  • Rosemarie Reyes: “The Character of Landscapes in Aymé Césaire’s Cahier d’un retour au pays natal » under the direction of Jean-Marc Moura ( Universite de Paris-Ouest Nanterre).
  • Amy Vidor: “Irène Némirovsky’s Suite française : Historical Document and Harrowing Portrait of French Mentalites During the Early Years of Nazi Occupation” under the direction of Anny Dayan Rosenman (Universite  Paris 7-Denis Diderot).
  • Ashley Hamill: “Diverging Disciples : Tolstoy and the Normaliens” under the direction of Deborah Levy-Bertherat (Ecole normale supérieure).
  • Michaela Kleber: “Writing to Speak: Early Nineteenth-Century Women Authors in Great Britain, France, and America ( Jane Austen, Claire de Duras, Maria Sedwick)” under the direction of Judith Lyon-Caen  (Ecole de Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales)
  • Celine Kodia: “Gendering Empowerment : A French Training Program for African Women Entrepreneurs (2010-2012)” under the direction of Pascale Barthélémy (Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon).
  • Nicole Mahoney: “Transatlantic Narratives of National Identity and Sentimental Rhetoric : Uncle Tom’Cabin in France, (1852-1900)” under the direction of Nelly Schmidt (Centre national de la recherche scientifique).
  • Alejandra Ott: “Defamiliarization of Perception as an Aesthetic Program” under the direction of Dominique Combe (Ecole Normale Supérieure).
  • Nana Quarshie: “A Multi-Spatial Critique of Rural Tradition and Urban Modernity”under the direction of René Collignon (Université Paris-Ouest).
  • John Raimo “Defining Revolution, Defining Politics: Reinhart Koselleck, François Furet, and the Postwar Lexicon” under the direction of Michael Werner (Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales).
  • Bahij Tamer : “Once Upon a Time, There Was Luxury...” under the direction of Jean-Paul Sermain (Université Sorbonne-Nouvelle).
  • Jessica Biddlestone : “Literature, General Culture, and Pedagogical Reforms: Colonial Humanism at the Ecole Coloniale (1926-1945)”, under the direction of Blaise Wilfert-Portal (Ecole normale supérieure).
  • Kelsey Bladh: “The Realization of a Fictionalized Courtesan : History’s Role in Emile Zola’s Nana”, under the direction of Christelle Taraud (Centre d’histoire du XIXème siècle).
  • Danielle Calleja: “La Puissance de la possibilité: l'énergie du système stendhalien” under the direction of Marc Escola (Université de Lausanne).
  • Marla Epp : “Édith Thomas et la mise en récit de la Libération de Paris” under the direction of Antoine Sabbagh (Université de Paris-Sorbonne Nouvelle).
  • Haley Temple : “Representations of the Maternal Body from Jules Michelet's La Femme and Emile Zola 's Fécondité” under the direction of Anne Berger (Université de Paris 8-Saint-Denis).