Study Abroad and the City: Mapping Urban Histories


  • Scott Blair



Course-related study excursions, Study abroad, Sites for learning, Study abroad cities, Community identities, Urban spaces, LGBT communities, Paris, Urban landscape


The accumulation by study abroad students of course-related onsite study excursions to museums, historical sites and celebrated buildings no doubt results in meaningful learning experiences.  However, to make study abroad cities truly effective as sites for learning, educators must employ a well-conceived and theoretically-grounded approach that emphasizes the geographical, historical, and cultural formation of community identities linked to related urban spaces. Using a case study designed to analyze urban landscapes of LGBT communities in Paris, this article shows how mapping can be employed to use the city as a laboratory for intercultural learning, identity formation, and tolerance of diversity. This approach is based on best practices in experiential learning set forth by the National Society for Experiential Education (NSEE).  Examples of exercises and templates for onsite study are included.


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Author Biography

Scott Blair

Scott G. Blair is Academic Dean of France at CEA Global Education. He has been affiliated with both American and French university programs in Paris and with study abroad programs from across the U.S. Blair has served on the faculties of the University of New Haven, the Institut National des Sciences Politiques, Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales, Université de Reims Champagne-Argenne, and the American University of Paris. At CEA’s Paris Global Campus he teaches courses on politics, history, and human rights. Blair holds a Doctorat in history from the Université de Paris Panthéon-Sorbonne, an MA in European history from Georgetown University, and a BA in English from Miami University (Ohio). 


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How to Cite

Blair, S. (2011). Study Abroad and the City: Mapping Urban Histories. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 20(1), 37–54.