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French travellers in Mediterranean lands

Explore travelogues in order to understand French perceptions of self and other in times of crisis

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CIVIS focus area
Society, culture, heritage
Open to
  • Master's
  • Phd
Field of studies
  • Social Science and humanities
  • Short-term
  • CIVIS Hub 2
Course dates
February - May 2022

Our modern period is characterised by travelling and mobility. During the last twenty years, travel studies have received much scholarly attention. This CIVIS course on French Travellers in Mediterranean Lands will focus on the understanding of the self and the other in terms of personal, cultural, ethnic and religious identities in times of crisis. Furthermore, it will focus on travel writing in times of sanitary, ecological or political emergency which will be analysed from an epistemic and ethical point of view. It will also present the ways that such crises affect travel writing (exploration, trade, pilgrimage, exile, migration, etc.) from an epistemic and ethical point of view. Moreover, it will analyse French travelogues as a source of information on the rediscovery of Antiquity by travellers as well as a testimony on patrimonial awareness of local populations.

The approach will be interdisciplinary, cross-cultural and cross-national embracing literature, comparative literature, history, art history, cultural studies and post-colonial studies. French travel writings will also be studied in the context of European travel texts in order to establish their connections and differences. Special attention will be given to travel illustrations (paintings, drawings, etchings, photographs) which contribute to the construction of difference and to the emergence of stereotypes and clichés.

This CIVIS course will contribute to current research and it will create research and synergies opportunities for CIVIS faculties and students.

Main topics addressed 

This CIVIS course will address the following main topics:

  • Travel literature
  • Travel iconography
  • French literature
  • Orientalism
  • Patrimonial consciousness
  • Otherness
Language: English (B1) & French (B2)* ECTS: up to 10 
N° of CIVIS scholarships: 18 Format: Blended
Contact:  Irini Apostolou - Location: Athens, Greece

The recognition of ECTS depends on your home University.

This CIVIS course is organised following a hybrid/blended format. Five sessions will be held online and five sessions will be held in Athens, Greece, depending on the Covid-related restrictions that will be in force in Greece at that moment. CIVIS Students (except for students from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens) will be supported by a mobility grant for their travel and stay in Athens.

Eight sessions will be dedicated to lectures, and two sessions will be dedicated to MA students’ presentations.

* The courses will be held in French. 


This CIVIS course is open to Master's and PhD students at one of CIVIS member universities, enrolled or interested in the following fields of studies: Travel Literature, French Literature, French Cultural History. A Bachelor's degree in Humanities is required. However, students' applications from other fields of studies can also be considered.

A B1 level of English and a B2 level of French are required as well. 

Application process

Students should apply by 20 January 2022 by filling in the following form: 

Both the CV and the motivation letter must be in French. An interview in French is not excluded. 

Selected students will be notified on 25 January 2022.


Students will have to present research findings in class (oral presentation), prepare a research essay (short Master thesis, 13.000 signs) and take a final written exam (commentaire composé). The written exam is worth 3 ECTS.

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Irini Apostolou, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

Associate Professor of French Cultural History, Department of French Language and Literature, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. Paris-Sorbonne University, DEA, PhD 2003.

Areas of Research: Travel writing and iconography, Orientalism, Antiquarianism, History of French Art, Iconography and French Cultural History. Irini Apostolou has mostly worked on eighteenth and nineteenth-century France. Her research examines the relationship between West and East and focuses on the French Travelers perception of the East. She has published L’Orientalisme des voyageurs français au XVIIIe siècle, (PUPS, 2009), elle a publié les Images of Greek Lands in French Press «Le Tour du Monde : journal des voyages» and «A travers le monde» (2012). She was Associate Research Director, Guest Researcher, Fondation Maison Des Sciences de l’HOMME Paris (April, May-June 2019). She is NKUA scientific coordinator for the program E-Belong: Sense of Belonging in Online Learning Environments Erasmus +Programme Key Action 226.

Sylvie Requemora, Aix-Marseillé Université

Professor of French literature (17th c.) at Aix-Marseille Université, Head of the 16-18 group of CIELAM, she studies travel literature from a rhetorical, theoretical, imagological and intercultural perspective. On the visiting faculty at several Universities (Harvard, Limerick, Duke, Toronto, Coimbra, Nagoya, Beijing, Fes), she also supervises PhDs at Middlebury College. Author of Travelling towards modernity. Travel through genres in the 17th century (PUPS) and of critical editions (Regnard’s French Theater and Travels, Classiques Garnier), co-editor of the “Real and imaginary travels” series at Garnier, she leads the Research Center on Travel Literature (

Hans Färnlöf, Stockholm University

Associate professor of French Literature at the University of Stockholm & PhD in 2000 (Stockholm), with a thesis on Maupassant's short stories. Specialises in French 19th Century literature (especially realism and naturalism), Literary theory, semiotics, genre theory, short story. Widely published in renowned reviews (Poétique, Romantisme, Cahiers Naturalistes, Orbis Litterarum…). 25 years of experience of teaching in higher education, from beginner’s level to doctorate courses, covering a wide range of courses (literature, phonetics, dissertation, communication, scientific approach, civilization, grammar, method…). Experience of Erasmus exchanges with Brest and Cadiz, and as an invited professor to Brest at master level. Solid experience of pedagogical development, philosophy of feedback, formative assessment, teaching online. Cooperation with international research groups (Flaubert, Zola), Pedagogical Center of Stockholm University and other universities in Sweden.

Vanezia Pârlea, University of Bucharest

Associate Professor of French Literature, Department of French Language and Literature at the University of Bucharest, and Director of the Heterotopos Research Center. Her areas of research include XVIIth century French Literature and Travel writing, with the main focus on cultural exchanges and cultural transfers between East and West. She has published «Un Franc parmy les Arabes». Parcours oriental et découverte de l’Autre chez le chevalier d’Arvieux (ELLUG, Grenoble, 2015).