Ecole Normale Superieur Photo
Photo: Collin Benedict

The Ecole normale supérieure (ENS)

The Ecole normale supérieure is a prestigious institution created during the French Revolution in order to unite bright citizens and instruct them in the art of teaching. The school participated in many of France's great debates. Some of its well-known graduates include Léon Blum, Louis Pasteur, Simone Weil, Aimé Césaire, Assia Djebar.  Only 2400 students, highly selected, are studying at the ENS. The Ecole normale supérieure has the only open-stack research library in France.
(Click the link to read a description of l'Ecole, in French with English subtitles:

HILI students are considered ENS students during the academic year. They will receive an ID ("Pensionnaire étranger") that allows them to take courses (see departments below), that gives them access to the ENS library, and lets them participate in its rich cultural life.

List of Departments open to HILI students

Note that exceptions can be made if it would be necessary for a student to take a course in another department. All courses are M.A. level courses.

Department of Literature and Languages (French and Francophone literature, German, English, Spanish, Italian, Russian):

History Department:

History and Theory of the Arts Department (Aesthetic, Cinema, Theater, History of Art, Music):

Philosophy Department:

Sciences of Antiquity Department:

Language Department (the department offers many languages, among them Arabic, Bambara, Corean, Persian, Russian ...):

Sample Courses at ENS (Previous Years)

For an up-to-date listing of ENS courses, visit the ENS Site:

Sample offerings from previous years. (Note that many more options are available, and Associate Director of Studies Christine Valero advises students in the choice of courses depending on their research interests).

Questions de théorie littéraire: théories post-coloniales. Dominique Combe (bio)
Histoire de la critique et des théories littéraires. Dominique Combe
Littérature, langue, langage. Dominique Combe
Par delà le cadre national: connexions, circulations et interactions en histoire modern.  Rahul Markovits
Histoire et mémoire du nazisme.  Marie Benédicte Vincent
Construction de l'histoire littéraire. Marielle Macé (bio) et Michel Murat (bio)
Approches de la poésie contemporaine : le poème et le réel. Michel Murat
Géopolitique des avant-gardes, Beatrice Joyeux-Prunel 
Traumatisme et écriture. Susannah Mary Ellis
Robinson Crusoe et ses réécritures. Marc Porée
Romantisme et révolution. Marc Porée
Hegel et la philosophie de l’histoire. Florian Nicomède
La philosophie entre la guerre et la paix: 1913-1945. Marc Crepon et Frederic Worms
Quand le cinéma pense la politique.  Marc Crepon et Françoise Zamour