Fugitive Rousseau: Slavery, Primitivism, and Political Freedom
Critics have claimed that Jean-Jacques Rousseau was a primitivist who was uncritically preoccupied with "noble savages" and that he remained oblivious to the African slave trade. Fugitive Rousseau demonstrates why these charges are wrong and argues that a fresh, "fugitive" perspective on political freedom is bound up with the themes of primitivism and slavery in Rousseau's political theory. Rather than trace Rousseau's arguments primarily to the social contract tradition of Hobbes and Locke, Fugitive Rousseau places Rousseau squarely in two imperial contexts: European empire in his contemporary Atlantic world and Roman imperial philosophy. Anyone who aims to understand the implications of Rousseau's famous sentence "Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains" or wants to know how Rousseauian arguments can support a radical democratic politics of diversity, discontinuity, and exodus will find Fugitive Rousseau indispensable.
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