Year of Graduation


Level of Access

Restricted Access Thesis

Embargo Period


Department or Program

Government and Legal Studies

First Advisor

Paul Franco


This thesis investigates the use of Albert Camus’s concept of “rebellion” in crafting an “art of living in times of catastrophe.” Throughout his life in the mid-20th century Camus wrote novels, plays, essays, and journalistic articles commenting on some of the central problems of his time. Through these different mediums of engagement, Camus crafted a way of grappling with the challenges and uncertainties of the world through the concept of rebellion, which also informed his own political commitments. In the first section of this project, I explore the way rebellion is derived from the concept of the absurd, before moving into an examination of the connection between rebellion and art. I then bring in Camus’s more explicitly philosophical articulation of rebellion through an analysis of The Rebel and its critics, commenting on rebellion’s usefulness as a means of critique and moderation. Finally, I explore the way that rebellion informs Camus’s own political engagements by assessing his writings and activities in response to the rise of Communism and the Algerian War. Despite the limitations of Camus’s rebellion in addressing more systemic problems, his theory offers the potential for a political moderation that can inform critiques of terrorism, political violence, and totalizing ideologies in our own time, as well as serving a more active, positive role in guiding reform on an individual basis. And, his expression of rebellion across different mediums of writing incorporates uncertainty into the practice of theorizing, opening up space for more experiential ways of engaging with political thought.


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