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The impossibility of reason

This book presents an overview of Jean–Jacques Rousseau's work from a political science perspective. Was Rousseau — the great theorist of the French Revolution—really a conservative? The text argues that the author of ‘The Social Contract’ was a constitutionalist much closer to Madison, Montesquieu, and Locke than to revolutionaries. Outlining his profound opposition to Godless materialism and revolutionary change, this book finds parallels between Rousseau and Burke, as well as showing that Rousseau developed the first modern theory of nationalism. It presents an integrated political analysis of Rousseau's educational, ethical, religious and political writings.

Joshua Foa Dienstag in dialogue
Series: Critical Powers

This book engages in a critical encounter with the work of Stanley Cavell on cinema, focusing skeptical attention on the claims made for the contribution of cinema to the ethical character of democratic life. In much of Cavell's writing on film he seeks to show us that the protagonists of the films he terms "remarriage comedies" live a form of perfectionism that he upholds as desirable for contemporary democratic society: moral perfectionism. Films are often viewed on television, and television shows can have "filmlike" qualities. The book addresses the nature of viewing cinematic film as a mode of experience, arguing against Cavell that it is akin to dreaming rather than lived consciousness and, crucially, cannot be shared. It mirrors the celebrated dialogue between Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Jean D'Alembert on theatre. The book articulates the implications of philosophical pessimism for addressing contemporary culture in its relationship to political life. It clarifies how The Americans resembles the remarriage films and can illuminate the issues they raise. The tragedy of remarriage, would be a better instructor of a democratic community, if such a community were prepared to listen. The book suggests that dreaming, both with and without films, is not merely a pleasurable distraction but a valuable pastime for democratic citizens. Finally, it concludes with a robust response from Dienstag to his critics.

or, The Self-Possessed Child
Steven Bruhm

The late twentieth century is fascinated by the phenomenon of the gothic child, the child who manifests evil, violence, and sexual aggression. On the face of it, this evil is “caused” by either medical or social factors: medicinal drugs, radiation, or the corrupting influences,of political others. However, this essay argues that the gothic child actually arises from conflicting forces of child-philosophies, the intersection of Romantic childhood innocence with Freudian depth models. These models tacitly point to a child that “is” rather than “is,made”, a child that belies contemporary parental attempts to make it be otherwise. Moreover, the idea that the child is somehow immune to parental influence – that it is self-possessed rather than possessed by another – extends to the current notion of,the “inner child”, that “self” who is the seat of identity and coherence. Because of this, the gothic as often fantasizes the killing of the “child within” as it revels in killing the child without.

Gothic Studies
A governmental analysis

Recent years have witnessed a burgeoning international literature which seeks to analyse the construction of health and health policy through an analytical lens drawn from post-Foucauldian ideas of governmentality. This book is the first to apply the theoretical lens of post-Foucauldian governmentality to an analysis of health problems, practices, and policy in Ireland. Drawing on empirical examples related to childhood, obesity, mental health, smoking, ageing and others, it explores how specific health issues have been constructed as problematic and in need of intervention in the Irish State. The book focuses specifically on how Jean Jacques Rousseau's critical social theory and normative political theory meet as a conception of childhood. The 'biosocial' apparatus has recently been reconfigured through a policy framework called Healthy Ireland, the purpose of which is to 'reduce health inequalities' by 'empowering people and communities'. Child fatness continues to be framed as a pervasive and urgent issue in Irish society. In a novel departure in Irish public health promotion, the Stop the Spread (STS) campaign, free measuring tapes were distributed throughout Ireland to encourage people to measure their waists. A number of key characteristics of neoliberal governmentality, including the shift towards a market-based model of health; the distribution of power across a range of agents and agencies; and the increasing individualisation of health are discussed. One of the defining features of the Irish health system is the Universal Health Insurance and the Disability Act 2005.

Adrian O’Connor

philosophical stakes of the debates over education, and the ambivalence to which these debates gave rise, are clear in the works of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Claude-Adrien Helvétius, figures who came to represent both the possibilities and the divisive implications of Enlightenment thought about education and politics. The two are often juxtaposed in histories of educational philosophy and the Enlightenment, and understandably so. They exerted important, albeit often adversarial, influence upon one another, and the split between them represented a serious fissure in the

in In pursuit of politics
Botany and the feminine
Sam George

’. 2 Title page. Reproduced from Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Letters on the Elements of Botany Addressed To A Lady, trans. Thomas Martyn Priscilla Wakefield’s An Introduction to Botany; in a Series of Familiar Letters (1796), arguably the first book of

in Botany, sexuality and women’s writing 1760–1830
Floral femininity and female education
Sam George

Writings, ed. K. M. Baker (Indianapolis, IN: Bobbs-Merrill, 1976 ), pp. 97–104. 34 Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Emile, or Education, trans. Barbara Foxley (1762; London: J. M. Dent, 1950 ), p. 16. All further references are to this edition and page numbers are given in parentheses after quotations

in Botany, sexuality and women’s writing 1760–1830
Abstract only
Sam George

transposed from theology). 29 Jean-Jacques Rousseau was explicitly against catechism because his teaching methods were founded on establishing the child’s autonomous judgement: If I had to depict sorry stupidity, I would depict a pedant teaching the catechism to children. If I wanted to make a child go mad, I would oblige him to

in Botany, sexuality and women’s writing 1760–1830
Abstract only
Sam George

suggest, for example, that Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s botanical letters addressed to a young woman (translated into English in 1785) are vital to our understanding of women as both the producers and consumers of botanical texts. This crucial work has been given little consideration in studies such as Shteir’s. 8 I depart from Shteir in that I argue that the feminisation of botany first occurred in texts written by men

in Botany, sexuality and women’s writing 1760–1830
Abstract only
Elisabeth Bronfen

novel at length in a later chapter I will turn for my analysis of deathbed scenes first to Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Julie, ou la Nouvelle Héloïse ( 1761 ), and then to two Victorian examples: the deaths of Charles Dickens’s Little Nell and Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Little Eva. In an effort to save her son from drowning, Rousseau’s Julie de Wolmar throws herself into the water

in Over her dead body