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 Languages, Cultures and Societies and the School of English and with the generous support of the Modern Humanities Research Assocation.

The aim of this 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.


Thursday 28 June 2012

10.00-10.15     Opening remarks: Russell Goulbourne and David Higgins (University of Leeds)

10.15-11.30     Plenary 1

Gregory Dart (University College London), 'Rousseau and the Romantic Essayists'

11.30-11.45     Tea/coffee

11.45-1.00       Session 1: Language and Translation

Lieve Jooken and Guy Rooryck (University of Ghent), 'Britain Discovers Rousseau: The First Discours Translated'

Ashley Sandlin (Auburn University), 'Reconfigurations of Gender Roles in Charles Burney's Translation of Rousseau's Le Devin du village'

James Smith (University of Manchester), 'Scribbling: Warburton-Derrida-Rousseau'

1.00-2.00         Lunch

2.00-3.45         Session 2: Memory, Romanticism and Modernism

Rowan Boyson (King's College, Cambridge), 'Feeling Agreeable: Gentle Pleasure from de Pouilly to Rousseau and British Romanticism'  

Zoe Beenstock (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem), 'Romantic Form and Rousseau: Critiquing Du Contrat social in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Frankenstein'

David Dwan (Queen's University Belfast), 'Rousseau and Modernism'  

3.45-4.00         Tea/coffee

4.00-5.15         Session 3: Rousseau and the Novel

James Fowler (University of Kent), 'La Nouvelle Héloïse: Rousseau's "Richardsonian" Novel?'                        

Pascal Fischer (University of Würzburg), '"Not the Converts of Rousseau": Educational Theory in Conservative English Novels c. 1800'

Helen Stark (Newcastle University), 'Libertarian Masculinity in Rousseau's Julie, ou La Nouvelle Héloïse and Byron's Childe Harold's Pilgrimage 

5.15-6.30         A visit to Special Collections (Brotherton Library) and drinks

Friday 29 June 2012

9.30-10.45     Plenary 2

Robert Mankin (Université Paris-Diderot), 'Did Gibbon Need Rousseau?'  

10.45-11.00     Tea/coffee

11.00-12.45     Session 4: Nature, Culture, Politics

Miryam Giargia (University of Milan), 'Rousseau and English Republicanism'                        

Joseph Pappin III (University of South Carolina), 'Burke and Rousseau on the State of Nature and the Social Contract: Freedom and Authority'

Heather Williams (University of Wales), '"Le pays de Galles ressemble entièrement à la Suisse": Rousseau and Wales'  

12.45-2.00       Lunch

2.00-3.15         Session 5: Rousseau and P. B. Shelley

Rebecca Nesvet (University of North Carolina), 'Writing Back to Rousseau: Shelley's Critique of the Lettre à d'Alembert sur les spectacles'

Thomas Roche (University of California, Santa Barbara), 'Percy Shelley and Rousseau's "pays des chimères"'

3.15-3.30         Tea/coffee

3.30-4.45         Plenary 3

John T. Scott (University of California, Davis), 'Rousseau Between Locke and Shaftesbury'

4.45-5.00         Concluding remarks: Russell Goulbourne and David Higgins


The conference fee is £40 (waged)/£20 (unwaged/postgraduate) for both days or £20 (waged)/£10 (unwaged/postgraduate) for one day; this includes lunch and tea/coffee. To register online, click here. The deadline for registrations is 31 May 2012; it will not be possible to register on the day.

Delegates attending the conference and requiring overnight accommodation will be able to take advantage of a preferential rate at one of Leeds' city-centre hotels; full details will be sent upon registration.

For information about how to get to the University of Leeds, click here.

If you have any questions, please contact the conference organisers, Professor Russell Goulbourne ( and Dr David Higgins ( You can also follow us on Facebook and on our blog.