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Kent State Professor Takes His Talents to France

Posted Aug. 22, 2011 | Erin Orsini
Row boats resting along the shore at Bois de Boulogne
Row boats resting along the shore at
Bois de Boulogne.

Dave Kaplan did not speak much French, but that didn’t stop the geography professor from packing his bags and settling in to the land of the Eiffel Tower as the Visiting Chair of Geopolitics at the Institute of French Geopolitics.

Kaplan was presented with the opportunity to join the institute after speaking with a French colleague at the University of Paris at the Urban Affairs Association Conference about issues of segregation.

Kaplan, who specializes in urban studies, saw it as a perfect fit with his interests.

“I like the idea of creating this environment and seeing how segregation operates in France,” Kaplan says.

After taking a sabbatical at Kent State, Kaplan moved to Paris in January where he has already taught about American ethnicity and given a public lecture on the American housing crisis.

“It was a great environment to teach in with a lot of great discussion,” Kaplan says. “The students are international, coming from countries such as Brazil, Catalonia, France, Lebanon and Romania, and I was still able to conduct the class in English.”

Kaplan is continuing his role with Institute of French Geopolitics until December. In May, Kaplan gave a seminar on segregation in French to colleagues and students at the institute.

In the fall, Kaplan will continue teaching, helping graduate students and organizing several international conferences while studying the issues of segregation throughout France.

Not only does Kaplan wish to study the French culture, but he also hopes to have a better understanding of the educational system and grasp of the French language.

“The opportunity isn’t about living in Paris, but to be a part of it,” Kaplan says.

View a slideshow about Dave Kaplan's trip to France.