International Academic Experiences (in times of Covid-19)

The pandemic that has marked 2020 has not spared higher education and research. Like all French educational establishments, the École normale supérieure has had to suspend most of its international exchanges and many students have seen their plans for study or research abroad cancelled.
Hey! I miss you. Image créée par Daniel Barreto /
Hey! I miss you. Image créée par Daniel Barreto /

From January 2021, CROSS.ROADS will offer international experiences to ENS student volunteers. In the very unfortunate absence of academic or research mobilities, and the tremendous experiences they allow, including culturally and socially, this platform will centralise several international resources accessible remotely to students whatever their major. Central to these contents, two international seminars will be launched for the second semester of this academic year 2020/2021.

Two original international seminars

The ENS is launching two international multidisciplinary seminars held entirely online as of January and February 2021. Organised by Marc Porée, in the humanities, and Régis Ferrière, in scientific disciplines, they will bring together French, European and international students from several partner institutions.

In the absence of “traditional” international mobilities, these seminars will offer an original university experience in a bilingual environment, while allowing the encounter of international students with different academic and scientific traditions.


  • Calendar and credits

Launched in January and February 2021, these two weekly seminars will run throughout the second semester of the academic year 2020/2021. They will be co-constructed with students who will be able to develop their projects in pairs or international groups.

Each of these seminars will allow students to obtain 6 ECTS credits, like any ENS student seminar. They will also allow to validate the international experience that is part of the ENS diploma (DENS), which is obviously difficult to satisfy this year.


Multidisciplinary seminar in the humanities – “Continuation and Interruption”

•  Scientific coordination and organisation: Marc Porée

“Covid may interrupt – but won’t disrupt”

Albeit lame, the pentameter above confidently points to the object under investigation in this seminar: interruption at the hands of the virus is anything but a fatality. While it may suspend, postpone or even cancel research programs, seminars, Conferences, forthcoming books, etc., the pandemic will not be allowed to fundamentally disrupt lasting engagements. Nor will it sever the ties that bind the ENS to the rest of the academic and creative world (and vice versa).

The seminar will be looking at two related and overlapping things: 1. Interruption as a meta-object, in its impact on research or creation in the field of the humanities 2. Continuation (though not quite “business as usual”), with specific reference to the present and the future of French studies, abroad and in France.  

The initial sessions will be handled by this or that specialist, so as to cover as many topics of general interest as possible. Other sessions will be entirely chaired by the students enrolled in the seminar, who will be expected to co-construct the program and pick speakers or issues directly suited to their academic interests.  

Working languages: French and/or English


•    Each registered student will produce a personal work that deals with the issue of “Continuation and Interruption”, and in connection to his or her own research project, whatever the discipline (ten pages maximum, in French or English).
•    Another mode of validation could consist in the organisation of a session of the seminar, in association with a researcher working internationally.

Credits: 6 ECTS

Schedule (Paris time): Thursday, 4pm to 6pm (first session on January 28, 2021)


Multidisciplinary seminar in scientific disciplines – “COVID-19, Raising and Breaking Boundaries”

•  Coordination : Régis Ferrière, UMI iGLOBES

•  Scientific organisation : Régis Ferrière, François-Michel Le Tourneau et David Blanchon (iGLOBES du CNRS, de l’ENS-PSL et de l’université d’Arizona - Interdisciplinary Global Environmental Studies)

COVID-19 disrupts all boundaries – of our health and activities, of economic and political systems, of international relations or science. The new coronavirus broke down borders and led to the edification of others. This international and multidisciplinary seminar explores, from the UnitedStates, the “crossings”, shocks and shifts related to the pandemic, proven or hypothetical, threats or opportunities for individuals, communities, and our planet.

Each session, based on a specific theme, will include one or two virtual lectures, followed by a discussion with the speakers (in English). For registered students, this discussion will be prepared by exploring the speakers’ work ; by identifying, reaching out to and inviting other researchers concerned by the topic of the session (directly or in a comparative perspective). The discussion will continue through a personal synthesis produced in interaction with the team of lecturers and researchers that will have been contacted and invited by students.


more about the program

Interdisciplinary seminar organized by iGLOBES International Research Laboratory, a partnership between the University of Arizona and the French CNRS, École normale supérieure, and Paris Sciences & Lettres University

Seminar topics include:

  • How Coronavirus Took Hold in North America and Europe
  • How COVID-19 is Impacting Politics in the US
  • Striving for an Accurate Census Amid the Pandemic
  • As Pandemic Unfolds, Fear and Finance Collide
  • Why You Shouldn't Trust Memes About Coronavirus
  • Coronavirus Creates Conditions for Unique Environmental Science 'Global Experiment'
  • From Social Distancing to Disinformation, COVID-19 Shows How History Repeats
  • Black Lives Matter and Pandemic Bring Juneteenth Into Focus
  • COVID-19 Has Changed Consumer Behavior. What Does it Mean for the Future?
  • Balancing Individual Rights, Public Health During a Pandemic
  • COVID-19 and the Mind-Body Connection of Touch
  • COVID-19 is Changing the Way We Live and Work. How Do We Cope?

Seminar will take place remotely via Zoom on Wednesdays, 10am-12pm AZ time, starting February 3rd, 2021.


Working languages: English and/or French


•    Each registered student will produce a personal synthesis based on the theme of one of the sessions, resulting in a written report in English (facilitating exchanges with the “host teams”), and an oral presentation in French if possible (to replace the ideas in a different linguistic framework).
•    This work will be based on the content of the conference itself, and contacts established by students with the speakers and their teams (their students especially), as well as the researchers invited to contribute to the seminar’s discussions.

Credits: 6 ECTS

Schedule: Wednesday, 6pm to 8pm (first session on February 03, 2021)

  • Registration and contacts

1)    Complete this registration form : click here
2)    Marc Porée and Régis Ferrière will reach back to you to validate your registration.
3)    ENS students shall then enter the seminar they chose in their study program.

Contacts :

Marc Porée
Régis Ferrière