Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Émile: Despite misanthropic tendencies and profound failure as a father, Rousseau deigns to offer advice on educating a child disconnected from peers and in strict accordance with nature. Long before the pandemic brought them to light, Émile called out the artificiality of fashionable expectations and the ravages of inequality. Freed from the chains of public opinion, Rousseau’s pupil learns the value of solitude and the importance of self-care and virtue. Émile comes to understand the foundation for good civil relations: a just social contract, as Trevor Noah explained in his response to George Floyd’s murder, requires recognizing each member as a valued part of the indivisible whole. [recommended by Sally J. Scholz, Villanova University]

Scroll to Top