UCL European Institute


Rousseau between Antiquity, Enlightenment and Modernity

02 December 2016, 6:30 pm


Event Information

Open to


2 December 2016
Professors Celine Spector (Sorbonne) and John Robertson (Cambridge) discuss Rousseau's place in enlightenment studies in light of new research that challenges the traditional understanding of his philosophy.

Friday 2 December 2016, 5pm

Chadwick G07
University College London
Gower Street, London

Jean-Jacques Rousseau is widely recognised as one of the first critics of modern civilisation and its discontents: the pursuit of self-interest, the division of labour, lack of authenticity, and political structures founded on greed and exploitation. However, recent research has opened up a variety of new perspectives on Rousseau that do not necessarily fit the traditional picture. This event is aimed at a reassessment of such recent views of Rousseau and their relationship with wider trends in Enlightenment studies. It will be based on a discussion of two new publications: the volume Engaging with Rousseau: Reaction and Interpretation from the Eighteenth Century to the Present (Cambridge University Press, 2016); and 'Rousseau's Imagined Antiquity', a special issue of the journal History of Political Thought (2016), both edited by Avi Lifschitz (UCL History).


  • Céline Spector, Professor at University of Paris - Sorbonne
  • John Robertson, Professor of the History of Political Thought, Cambridge

All welcome; the discussion will be followed by a reception. Please register here.