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Fugitive Rousseau: Slavery, Primitivism, and Political Freedom.

Fugitive Rousseau: Slavery, Primitivism, and Political Freedom

Jimmy Casas Klausen

Fordham University Press

2546 Belmont Avenue, University Box L, Bronx, NY 10458-5172

9780823257294, $80.00, HC, 356pp,

Synopsis: Critics have claimed that Jean-Jacques Rousseau was a primitivist uncritically preoccupied with "noble savages" and that he remained oblivious to the African slave trade. Fugitive Rousseau presents the emancipatory possibilities of Rousseau's thought and argues that a fresh, "fugitive" perspective on political freedom is bound up with Rousseau's treatments of primitivism and slavery. Rather than trace Rousseau's arguments primarily to the social contract tradition of Hobbes and Locke, "Fugitive Rousseau: Slavery, Primitivism, and Political Freedom" by Jimmy Casas Klausen (who holds an appointment at the Instituto de Relacoes Internacionais of the Pontificia Universidade Catolica do Rio de Janeiro) 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" an indispensable read and reference.

Critique: An extraordinarily well written, organized and presented work of seminal scholarship, "Fugitive Rousseau: Slavery, Primitivism, and Political Freedom" is very highly recommended for academic library collections. For the personal reading lists of academia, as well as non-specialist general readers with an interest in the life and writings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, it should be noted that "Fugitive Rousseau" is also available in a paperback edition (9780823267477, $20.80) and in a Kindle format ($9.99).

Willis M. Buhle


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Author:Buhle, Willis M.
Publication:Reviewer's Bookwatch
Article Type:Book review
Date:Apr 1, 2016
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