In the Cafe de Flore, the same cafe James Baldwin wrote Go Tell It On The Mountain, sits four students from the SU Paris Noir program. Last week was their final week of their study abroad excursion as they explored versions and variations of the theme “what is paris noir?”
“Paris Noir is understanding and analyzing differences, language, history, translation and borders,” says C’Ara McCrea, Sports Management and Accounting major at Syracuse University. The students had the opportunity to use the 20 arrondissements of Paris as their classroom as they explored and questioned spaces. For example, Morehouse College student Casey Jones mentioned his thoughts on the Champs Elysses and how he questioned whose history was being told along the avenue.
Cheyenne Cheathem, Broadcast and Digital journalism student at Syracuse University, said, “we were able to see parts of Paris that weren’t the traditional parts. I never felt like a tourist in Paris, but more like a student; someone who was really learning and embracing the culture instead of just consuming the culture.” Navigating the 20 arrondissements allowed them to form their own questions and opinions of spaces and sites of memory.
The most important take away the students received from the program was the idea of the return and their symbols of survival. Priscilla Azaglo says, “When we arrived in Paris, each of us were challenged in different ways. So as we begin to return home, we have to think about what we plan on doing for our communities to challenge others.” The students have to consider how they will translate their experience across borders.
While the program has concluded, “Paris Noir is [still] on the move!”