English 190

Research Seminar: Aesthetics and Enlightenment


Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Fall 2015 Weiner, Joshua J
T. B. A.
MW 9:30-11 305 Wheeler

Book List

Burke: Reflections on ... the Sublime and the Beautiful; Hogarth: The Line of Beauty; Kant: Critique of Judgment; Lessing: Laocoön; Rancière: The Future of the Image; Scarry: On Beauty and Being Just; Starr: Feeling Beauty

Description

The enlightenment was the first great century of modern aesthetics, giving us a critical vocabulary to think about how, as Foucault put it, we construct ourselves as works of art. This course will give the student a taste of some of the foundational statements from the eighteenth century and discuss them in relation to major contemporary aesthetic questions. Topics will include the digital mediation of mass culture, the relation between art and political inequality, the ethics of representing violence, pornography and surveillance, gendered and queer spectatorship, the neurology behind aesthetic experience, and the neoliberal performance of taste. We will supplement the critical texts by selecting and analyzing examples of our own aesthetic self-formations through a choice of either regular short writing assignments or a final project assembling and discussing a personal canon. Kant declared that the motto of enlightenment was Sapere Aude (Dare to know!), demanding that we grow up, use our reason, and join a public world. We will collaboratively assess how the aesthetic aspects of our lives contribute to the ongoing enlightenment project of a well-ordered social world or whether they tend towards something else.

Please read the paragraph about English 190 on page 2 of the instructions area of this Announcement of Classes for more details about enrolling in or wait-listing for this course.

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