English 203

Graduate Readings: Aesthetics and Politics: Kant and Beyond

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
3 Fall 2019 Goldsmith, Steven
TTh 12:30-2 65 Evans

Book List

Adorno, T.: Aesthetic Theory; Burke, E.: Philosophical Enquiry into the Origins of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful; De Man, P.: Ideology of the Aesthetic; Derrida, J.: The Truth in Painting; Kant, I. : Critique of the Power of Judgment; Rancière, J.: Aesthetics and Its Discontents; Schiller, F.: On the Aesthetic Education of Man


As an introduction to the political possibilities, problems, and questions raised by Kantian aesthetics, this class will navigate between two quotations: 1) Schiller: “If man is ever to solve that problem of politics in practice he will have to approach it through the problem of the aesthetic, because it is only through Beauty that man makes his way to Freedom”; 2) Auden: “Poetry makes nothing happen.”  At first we will focus on eighteenth-century models developed by Burke, Kant, and Schiller, perhaps in conjunction with some romantic poetry.  We will then follow a range of twentieth- and twenty-first century elaborations and contestations, including, among others: Adorno, Arendt, Bourdieu, Clark, Derrida, De Man, Jameson, Lyotard, Ngai, Rancière, and Terada.  Toward the end of the semester, we may want to explore what Kantian aesthetics have to say about our current fascination with new formalisms, materialisms, and other post-critical theories. 

Other Recent Sections of This Course

Back to Semester List