A New World? Pandemics and the Possibility of Change

Literature and Social Sciences

Course Description

All Autumn 2020 courses will take place on Zoom. Readings will be available online and by in-person retrieval.

"Everybody knows that pestilences have a way of recurring in the world, yet somehow we find it hard to believe in ones that crash down on our heads from a blue sky. There have been as many plagues as wars in history, yet always plagues and wars take people equally by surprise."
—Albert Camus, La Peste, 1947

The COVID-19 pandemic has traumatically interrupted the continuity of our lives and challenged us to transform how we live in critical ways. This course will be grounded in Camus’s The Plague and Roth’s Nemesis and will address the following questions:   

How does plague change the way we see our lives and our relations to others while we are living through it? Have the eruption and ongoing impact of COVID-19 forced us to become aware of aspects of human existence we habitually seek to deny? In what ways has the pandemic exposed our tendency to lose sight of the limits of our freedom, our knowledge, and our love and revealed our inclination to overlook the extent of our vulnerability and interconnectedness? What can we do to ensure that, when this crisis is no longer wreaking havoc, we will not, as is commonly the case after a traumatic event, forget the truths we have found ourselves reluctantly recovering? Can we hope that this current, global challenge will motivate a lasting change in how we conduct our lives and in our readiness to care for each other?

Books to Purchase

    • The Plague by Albert Camus, Modern Classics (ISBN 9780141185132)
    • Nemesis by Philip Roth, Penguin (ISBN 9780143173540)

Please note that this course has a maximum enrollment of 14 students.

Priority is given to students who pay upon registration.

For fully registered courses, a waiting list will be created. Should vacancies develop, those on the waiting list will be contacted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Course Details

First Session: Thursday 24 September 2020

Course Length: 12 weeks, Thursdays, 6:15 p.m. - 8:15 p.m.

Discussion Team: Carol Fiedler, Rina Kampeas, Devinderpal Singh

Degree Credit: Yes

Course Fee: 

$150.00 (standard tuition)

$100.00 (promotion for new students)

Administrative Fee:



$185.00 (standard tuition)

$135.00 (promotion for new students)


Course fees are refundable in full before the second session. After the second session, a fee of $50 for the withdrawal will be applied. Refunds will not be issued after the third session. Please note that non-attendance does not constitute a withdrawal.

Degree students, course leaders, and students wishing to use credit vouchers should not register online. 

Degree students must schedule an appointment with the Admissions and Accreditation Committee to register for courses at info@thomasmore.qc.ca

Course leaders, and students wishing to use credit vouchers from cancelled Spring 2020 courses, should call (514) 935-9585 to pay by phone or to schedule an appointment to pay in person.

If you are a RETURNING student

If you are NEW to TMI