Call for Papers



Fifteenth Biennial Conference of the Rousseau Association

Lyon, France

June 28th - June 30th, 2007

In association with the LIRE XVIIIème Research Group and Lyon II University

In the article Encyclopédie, Diderot writes : « La philosophie avance à grands pas ; […] elle soumet à son empire tous les objets de son ressort ; […] son ton est le ton dominant ; […] on commence à secouer le joug de l’autorité et de l’exemple pour s’en tenir aux lois de la raison ». Suspicious of progress, critical of anything resembling a « ton dominant », respectful of reason but limiting its domain, Rousseau is at odds on several points with this polemical vision, yet he was surely as influential in « shaking the yoke of authority » as any of his contemporaries. It is hardly surprising that his relations with those who could identify fully with Diderot’s declaration are complex ; they are initially warm, but that is in part because of misunderstandings that are later to be dissipated. Diderot’s homage to Rousseau in the article Encyclopédie (« Ô Rousseau, mon cher et digne ami ») marks one pole of the relations between Rousseau and the philosophes, his list of « Les Sept Scélératesses de Jean-Jacques Rousseau », drawn up in 1758, marks the other pole, whereas on Rousseau’s side, the autobiographical writings and other works contain vehement denunciations of Diderot, Grimm and other former friends with whom he had debated moral and artistic issues. Our subject embraces philosophy, religion, morality, politics, literature and the arts, as well as the innumerable allegations of personal jealousy echoed in the periodical press, in polemical pamphlets and in literature. Although it is scarcely possible to give an exact definition of the philosophe, our focus is on Rousseau’s relations with contemporaries who are loosely grouped around the Encyclopédie and its two principal editors, with those Voltaire called « les frères » or « la petite confrérie », as well as with their immediate successors in the next generation, and important foreign contemporaries such as Hume.


Proposals on the above topic (title and short summary), in English or French, for papers of 20 minutes duration should be sent to the Conference Organizer, Michael O’Dea, by electronic mail at or by ordinary mail at the following address :

Département des Lettres Modernes

Université Lumière Lyon II

18 quai Claude Bernard

69365 Lyon Cedex 07


If using ordinary mail, please also give if possible an electronic address for acknowledgement.

The deadline for receipt of proposals is October 31 st, 2006. Proposals will be reviewed by the Scientific Committee (Professors Byron Wells, John Scott, Michael O’Dea) and a decision communicated by November 30 th 2006. A preliminary program for the conference will be available in January 2007.


LIRE = Littérature, Idéologies, Représentations. The group is jointly funded by the French National Scientific Research Council (CNRS) and Lyon II University.




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