A triple major in history, comparative literature and French at Williams College, Hazel Richards ‘23 spent her spring semester 2022 studying in Paris with the Hamilton in France program. As a winner of the Robert G. Wilmers, Jr. 1990 Memorial Student Travel Abroad Fellowship at Williams College, she has the opportunity to travel to Martinique, Paris and the south of France in order to conduct her summer research project. She describes her project for us in an interview.

“My project is about why did Martinique vote for Departmentalization in 1946 right after World War Two. And what I am looking at particularly is the role of journals and magazines in disseminating news about different fears that were going on, particularly about the United States, and what was going on in the United States and France, and so how communication fuels and changes world events like this.

I will be spending three weeks in archives in Martinique and then I will be spending three weeks in Paris and another two in the south, at the archives of the overseas departments of France in Aix-en-Provence.

Being at Hamilton in France this semester has definitely been very formative to my future studies and future plans. Even for this research project, I wouldn’t have come up with the idea beforehand. I was struggling to figure out what I would want my thesis to look like because my specialty is the Francophone Caribbean, but within that, there are so many choices, so many different time frames to talk about.

So being at Hamilton in France, I had a lot of professors, and people during orientation, talking about Aimé Césaire and Négritude, but also about the Nardal sisters and the more untold stories or unknown sides of this.

And so that led me to do some more searches and that’s why I came up with this topic. This semester has really prepared me for that, and it has also given me incredible language skills and resources. The professors here have been so helpful and getting access to all the different libraries has definitely been very essential.”