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Northwestern University


Director : Michael Loriaux


Within Northwestern University the French Interdisciplinary Group is housed at the Buffett Institute, a cross-school organization devoted to facilitating global engagement and scholarship on the world's most crucial problems. FIG encourages and supports scholarly connections among Northwestern scholars and their French counterparts across schools, disciplines, and departments; it therefore regularly collaborates with Northwestern departments throughout the hard sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities.


The French Interdisciplinary Group at Northwestern University was created in 1996 to promote the use of the French language beyond the confines of French studies by familiarizing our colleagues and students with French scholarship in all fields. In pursuit of this mission, FIG has fostered the development of partnerships with some of France’s most visible institutions of higher learning: ENS-Paris, Sciences-Po, ENS-Lyon, and EHESS, and we are currently in conversation to develop a partnership with Paris III – Sorbonne Nouvelle.

In the context of those partnerships, FIG organizes short-term faculty exchanges; student exchanges and dual-PhD degrees; and joint conferences on a wide range of scholarly questions. FIG has pioneered dual doctoral training, of which more than twenty doctoral students now benefit, while many alumni have defended and moved on to prestigious research positions. It has submitted four grant proposals to the Partner University Fund, three of which – in molecular biology, African Studies, and urban sociology – have been funded.

Because FIG’s mission has been to promote exchanges with French institutions in all spheres of scholarship, FIG has forged strong relations with a variety of scholarly communities at Northwestern including: Critical Theory, Political Theory, African Studies, Urban Sociology, Sociology of Law, Medieval and Early Modern Studies, French Literature and Literary Theory, Art History, as well as a number of research groups in the “hard sciences.” It also regularly consults with Northwestern’ International Program Development to develop undergraduate programs in France, and collaborates with the Cultural Services at the French Consulate in Chicago to promote French language and culture in the Chicago and broader Midwest area


FIG has no research themes of its own. It supports the promising research projects that are brought to its attention by French and American colleagues, as illustrated by our PUF grant to study urban inequality and our new proposal to write a grant to study globalization and the law.



French Interdisciplinary Group
Northwestern University
2-375 Kresge Hall
Evanston, IL 60208