Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Politics, Philosophy, and Literature (FRENCH 221A)
"Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains." This seminar explores the work of one of the most important and enigmatic thinkers about the problems of modern society: Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Students will read a selection of his most important works in dialogue with other important thinkers of his time. They will grapple with Rousseau's political philosophy in his critique of modernity and his vision for remaking politics, as well as his moral philosophy and influential fictional visions of education and love. We will discuss not only Rousseau's landmark contributions to debates about authenticity, transparency, and self-interest, but also his troubling views on gender. The class will conclude with Rousseau's autobiography and its profound meditation on the formation of selfhood. Taught in French.