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Rousseau's Relevance : Politics, Ethics and (Self-)Care (Santa-Barbara)

Rousseau's Relevance : Politics, Ethics and (Self-)Care (Santa-Barbara)

Publié le par Marc Escola (Source : Flora Amann & Renan Larue)

Rousseau's Relevance : Politics , Ethics, and (Self-)Care in Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Works

February 17th, 2017

University of California, Santa Barbara



Flying A Studios Room, University Center, University of California, Santa Barbara


Co-organizers :

Renan Larue, Assistant Professor, Department of French and Italian

Flora Amann, Doctoral Candidate, University of Montreal/Université Paris-Sorbonne



The tercentennial of Jean-Jacques Rousseau's birth in 2012 has generated several recent publications, celebrations, ecncounters, and colloquia. These have highlighted his undying celebrity in France, Switzerland, and worldwide. The cult of Rousseau after the publication of the century's uncontested best-seller Julie, or the New Heloise (1761) and the French Revolution of 1789, derives not only from his philosophical and literary genius, but also from his own self-(re)presentation. And yet there is no overstating the scope and relevance of his thinking and philosophical fictions since then. His relevance is a benchmark against which other philosophers, of the Enlightenment and thereafter, measure themselves. Rousseau's notions about natural human kindness and the emotional foundations of ethics still furnish the core of today's moral outlook, and much of modern political philosophy likewise builds on the foundation of The Social Contract (1762) by Rousseau.

In this one-day colloquium, to be held on the first day of the 2017 Annual Meeting of the Western Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (WSECS) at UC Santa Barbara, scholars will focus on the roots of Rousseau's continued relevance and popular appeal in contemporary thought. Why such a fascination for Rousseau the man, for his ideas, and his works ? Lines of inquiry will include : 1) the timeliness of Rousseau's work in the current context of deepening political, social, economic and moral crises in the Western world; 2) Rousseau's pioneering work in On Inequality between Men (1755), which still speaks to the scandalous social disparities, which modern society is host to ; 3) Rousseau's praise of and care for our natural environment, which resonates in our era of ecological catastrophes and concern for sustainability ; 4) today's animal ethics and renewed notions of care and self-care, introduced by Rousseau in a challenge to the Enlightenment that still calls into question our own daily practices.


Conference program


8:15 a.m. Welcome

8:30 a.m. Introduction

by Renan Larue et Flora Amann


8:35-9:10 a.m. Rousseau Today

Chair: Renan Larue (UCSB)

Prof. Benoît Melançon (U. de Montréal)

"Rousseau in 2017 Quebec"


9:20-11 a.m. Contemporary Political Uses of Rousseau

Chair: Prof. Patrick Coleman (UCLA)

Prof. Colas Duflo (U. Paris X-Nanterre) and Ariane Revel (U. Paris-Est Créteil)

"Politics and Fiction in Rousseau's Works"

Prof. Christophe Litwin (UC Irvine)

"The Sound Economy of Civil Power : On Rousseau and Corsica"

Prof. Pierre Frantz (U. Paris-Sorbonne)

"Le modèle théâtral égalitaire de Rousseau dans la réflexion sur le théâtre populaire à partir du milieu du XXe siècle"


11:20 a.m.-12:30 p.m. New Readings of Rousseau

Chair : Prof. Ronald Tobin (UCSB)

Prof. Wolf Kittler (UCSB)

"Song and Speech. Rousseau's Theory of Language in Light of his Writings on Music"

Prof. Patrick Coleman (UCLA)

"Reading the Lettre à d'Alembert Today"


12:30-2 p.m. Lunch


2-3:40 p. m. Exploring the Body

Chair : Prof. Benoît Melançon (U. de Montréal)

Prof. Rudy Le Menthéour (Bryn Mawr College)

"Rousseau : the Art of Preservation"

Flora Amann (U. de Montréal/U. Paris-Sorbonne)

"Rousseau's Thoughts on Disability : the Case of Deafness"

Prof. Renan Larue (UCSB)

"Rousseau on Not Eating Animals"


4-5:10 p. m. I and Thou

Chair : Prof. Catherine Nesci (UCSB)

Prof. David Marshall (UCSB)

"Rousseau and the Theater of Autobiography"

Prof. Michel Delon (U. Paris-Sorbonne)

"Julie, le couple et la communauté"


5:15 p. m. Conclusion


5:30 p. m. Reception



Contacts :

Renan Larue :

Flora Amann :