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Mastery, Friendship, and Emile

Originally Posted on bhleith, July 18, 2014

By Brianne Leith AGI08

Gianna Englert of Georgetown University returned to the Annapolis campus where she attended the St. John’s Graduate Institute to lecture in the Great Hall on July 16.

Students participating in the SJC Summer Academy attended the lecture, "Mastery, Freedom, Friendship: Tutor and Pupil in Rousseau's Emile.” Englert shared, "I want to introduce and discuss a topic that should be close to the heart of everyone here: tutors. I want to explore Jacques Rousseau’s peculiar take on the role of the tutor in his work titled Emile or on Education, and that tutor’s relationship to his pupil. This study led me to yet another topic that I think lies at the heart of what St. John’s College is: friendship. My hope is to bring these two ideas—education and friendship—together in our discussion, through my reading of Rousseau.”  

She continued, “In his Emile, Rousseau presents his system of 'natural education,' in which a tutor attempts to raise a single pupil. The lecture examines this vision of Rousseauean friendship alongside that of Aristotle. Finally, we will consider the relationship between friendship and citizenship. Can friendship provide a necessary link between Rousseau’s educational solution in Emile, and his political one in The Social Contract?"

Several Summer Academy students praised Englert after the lecture, including participant Alex Pack who commented: “It [the lecture] is applicable to everything. I am not a Johnnie yet, but because of this I am seriously considering applying.”