Christie McDonald, Professor of French and Comparative Literature, Harvard University: Rousseau and Human Rights

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Location: Annenberg Auditorium, Snite Museum of Art

Introductory presentation of the exhibit and the “Rousseau 2012 / DIGNITY” events for the spring semester.

Spring semester 2012 will see the University of Notre Dame join a world-wide examination of the legacy of the Swiss philosopher and writer Jean-Jacques Rousseau. 2012 will mark the tricentennial of his birth; the international organization of events is being led by colleagues in Geneva. The Notre Dame events, titled “Rousseau 2012 / DIGNITY” will explain why we should keep reading Rousseau today through the lens of key concepts on political justice, power relations, and religious liberty. To the question, why is Jean-Jacques Rousseau relevant today? We reply emphatically, JJR is a pioneer of humanitarian thought. Our efforts aim to provide teachers and students with key insights into Rousseau and stunning visual supports that are “good to think with” and engage us in the work of creating a more humane world.