Rousseau 2016 - Childhood Studies - University of Derby

Rousseau 2016

The '2016' part of this project is currently on-hold, pending future developments. You can still see other articles relating to Jean-Jacques here. Thank you.


In March 1766, the notable and controversial writer Jean-Jacques Rousseau stayed for over a year just down the road in the village of Wootton, Staffordshire. In 2016, it is exactly 250 years since that time and the main aim of Rousseau 2016 is to celebrate that visit.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau His range of activities went way beyond just his political, philosophy and educational scribbling,
Jean-Jacques was deeply enthusiastic  about many other subjects; music, anything connected
with the’ natural’ world and cookery – to name but a few. He lived in exciting times of change with the beginnings of commerce and invention, on the cusp of the industrial revolution. 

In 2016, we want to reflect the spectrum of his interests and thus anyone (individuals, public,
private or voluntary organisations, groups) can think of and run an event which benefits from the
Rousseau 2016 ‘umbrella’. We have no preconceived ideas about what may happen during the project year but what we do know is that it needs to enable people to engage in any activities which interest and inspire them; he would have been passionate about that. And because he did so many things; then the majority can be connected to Jean-Jacques in some way. 

That’s some time away though. In the run-up to 2016, we foresee a range of smaller, awareness-raising activities which seek to increase knowledge about him, his times and the Rousseau 2016 project overall.

How this site works

Over the past 300 years much has been written and said about Rousseau, you only need to go to Google or the local library to find out. This site therefore cannot hope to authoritatively nor academically rigorously appraise these many accounts and interpretations. We need though need a position, a place from which to view some of these.

There are sections to the right-hand side; these outline some of Jean-Jacque’s interests, pursuits, circumstances and narratives, sometimes with comment. Each of these contains information and stance in a sometimes ever-so-slightly tongue-in-cheek style to raise his profile, his thoughts, his life and times. It is, of course, unwise to view these categories as mutually exclusive, nor even attempt to disentangle their connection with one another.

No doubt he was also a contradictory and fairly spiky character and here we encounter a blend of the individual, the historic context and the possible contemporary application.

Andrew Sanders

Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Studies
July 2014

Project supporters

Rousseau 2016

University of Derby logo

Keele University Logo for Rousseau 2016 web page

East Staffordshire Borough Council logo for Rousseau 2016

Churnet Valley logo for Rousseau 2016

Centre for Society Religion and Belief

C‌entre for Society, Religion and Belief

Find out more

For more information about what Rousseau said and did (plus what others say and have said about what Rousseau said and did):

Please visit the LittleSpaces website