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How did Albert Camus respond to the German occupation of France and French colonialism in his novel The Plague?

Project by Polygence alum Talia

How did Albert Camus respond to the German occupation of France and French colonialism in his novel The Plague?

Project's result

Created a research paper.

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Summary

This project explores how Albert Camus grappled with the German occupation of France during World War II in addition to the anticolonial struggles for independence in North and West Africa. It is specifically interested in the contradictions between his response to the Occupation and his response to decolonization. The paper first considers the historical context of the French empire in the 40s and 50s and presents a brief biography of Camus and his philosophy before delving into a literary analysis of the text. There, it argues that Camus effectively criticizes the collaborative Vichy government’s use of denial through the lenses of the Church and of language. However, it then demonstrates Camus’s hypocrisy in failing to apply these same principles to decolonization movements by observing his contradictory perspective on nationhood and his lack of engagement with an anticolonial critique despite setting his novel in Algeria.

Lauren

Lauren

Polygence mentor

PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate

Subjects

Social Science, History, Languages, Literature

Expertise

international relations, twentieth century global history, international and European history, history of immigration, museum studies, Comparative Literature and translation studies, continental philosophy, Holocaust memory, genocide studies, history of human rights and humanitarianism

Review of mentor

My mentor was very helpful. She helped me come up with the topic since I only had a very general idea of what I was interested in and helped make the process very manageable and enjoyable. She helped me refine my argument and helped me work through any problems that came up, asking me questions to help me figure out the answer rather than just telling it to me straight out. I had a great experience!

Talia

Talia

Student

Graduation Year

2025

Project review

It was great to have a mentor who helped me so much with the project and who helped me refine my topic and my argument to create a manageable paper that I really enjoyed writing.