9661 - Aesthetics and Politics - This course has two main objectives:
- to situate the aesthetic tradition from Kant to Neitzsche in the effort to come to an understanding not only of the key issues in aesthetic theory but of the place of aesthetics in the philosophical tradition;
- to assess the place of significance of this tradition for contemporary theory and thus to question where we are now, are we still thinking aesthetics (or aesthetically), or have we begun to yet.
One of the main concerns of the course will be to trace the intersection between aesthetics and politics, or between aesthetics and ideology. The course will attempt to come to an understanding of what has come to be called the aestheticization of the political (and the politicization of aesthetics) but in so doing it will first seek to situate what is understood by the terms politics and ideology.
While we will to some extent work back and forth between the aesthetic tradition of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and contemporary accounts of it, the course will follow a loose chronology, establishing a reading of the tradition before moving on to contemporary accounts. As two half courses, then, the first half would deal with the material from Lessing to Nietzsche, the second with that from Benjamin to Agamben.
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