An American in Paris

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As &#8220;island&#8221; study abroad programs (Goodwin &#38; Nacht 1988) increase in popularity, critics suggest that the student participants are merely cocooning themselves in an insulated community wherein they recreate American cultural practices and identities. That is, these students see their term abroad as ultimately about themselves, and this self-obsession is deemed proof of an intransigent American habitus (Bourdieu 1984). In this chapter, I examine how an American undergraduate accounts for her experiences in an island program in Paris. While at first this student&#8217;s testimony seems to confirm the dire predictions outlined above, in the end I draw on post-structuralist theories of <i>subjectivity</i> (Kramsch 2009) to demonstrate that this student&#8217;s deeply personal <i>subject positionings</i> transcend any ostensibly American identities.


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