Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Britain

An international conference to be held at the University of Leeds, 28-29 June 2012, under the auspices of the School of Modern Languages and Cultures and the School of English

Plenary speakers: Dr Gregory Dart (University College London); Professor Robert Mankin (Université Paris-Diderot); Professor John T. Scott (University of California, Davis) 

The aim of this international conference, held in celebration of the tercentenary of Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s birth, is twofold: first, to reassess the impact that Britain had on Rousseau’s life and writing; and secondly, to examine the reception of Rousseau's works in Britain from the eighteenth century to the present day.

It is well known that Rousseau spent a number of months in England in 1766-67, a stay dominated by his stormy relationship with David Hume. What is less well known is the extent to which Rousseau, even before then, was steeped in British culture, including its literature, its philosophy and its politics. Exactly how Rousseau engaged with British culture and the effect it had on his own intellectual development and output will be a key focus of this conference. The conference will also allow scholars to explore systematically the many ways in which Rousseau has been read, understood, appropriated and challenged by British writers, philosophers and political theorists from the eighteenth century to the present day

Possible topics for conference papers include, but are not limited to:

·         Rousseau in Britain: travel and translation

·         Rousseau and the British press

·         Rousseau and the British Enlightenment

·         Rousseau and the Romantics

·         Rousseau and the Victorians

·         Rousseau: From Modernism to Postmodernism

·         Rousseau and British feminism

·         Rousseau and British nature-writing

·         Rousseau and the novel in Britain

·         Rousseau and British educational theory

·         Rousseau and British political theory

 Proposals for 20-minute papers in English should include a title and an abstract of 300-500 words and should be sent by 30 September 2011 to the conference organisers, Professor Russell Goulbourne ( and Dr David Higgins (


Professor Russell Goulbourne, Head of the Department of French

School of Modern Languages and Cultures | University of Leeds | Leeds LS2 9JT | UK

Tel: +44 (0)113 343 3483 | Fax: +44 (0)113 343 3477

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Secretary of the Association of University Professors and Heads of French: