PHI 381 - G : AESTHETICS (II)

CONTEMPORARY EUROPEAN AESTHETIC THEORY

FALL SEMESTER 2006

Prof. Hugh J. Silverman

 

Tuesdays & Thursdays 5:20-6:40 p.m. /  Library N4072

Office: Harriman Hall 203 - Office Telephone: (631) 632-7592; <hugh.silverman@stonybrook.edu>

Office Hours: Tuesdays - 3:00 - 5:00 and by appointment

 

FOCUS:   

This course will focus on contemporary European aesthetic theory (since the early 20th century). Emphasis will be placed on the role of aesthetic theory in phenomenology, existentialism, critical theory, hermeneutics, poststructuralism, deconstruction, postmodernism, and continental

feminist theory. The task will be to understand the writings of major theorists (such as Heidegger, Benjamin, Merleau-Ponty, Dufrenne, Gadamer, Ricoeur, Foucault, Deleuze, Lyotard, Derrida, Nancy, Irigaray, Kristeva, Eco, Perniola), and to show how they relate to issues such as:

the nature of the work of art and writing, problems of criticism and aesthetic understanding, strategies for reading and interpretation, the status of texts and textuality, questions surrounding the beautiful and the sublime, the differences between the avant-garde and the postmodern,

and the role of the arts in contemporary society.

PURPOSE:   Designed as an introduction to contemporary theories of the arts, aesthetic theory, and the relations between the arts and culture, society, and politics today.

PREREQUISITES:      Junior or Senior standing; at least two courses in Philosophy, Humanities, Comparative Literature, Art, Music, Theater, English, European Languages, Literatures, and Cultures.

REQUIREMENTS:   Each student will be expected to attend class regularly.  There will be a take-home mid-term exam and a final exam. Throughout the semester, there will be a total of four 10-15 minute quizzes at the beginning of class (only three will count but students must take all four in order to have the lowest of the four dropped). 

Also each student is to write one paper (about 5-7 pages in length). The paper should focus on how two different aesthetic theories can be applied to the reading or interpretation of a literary, pictorial, musical, dramatic text, a film, photograph, or the like. The task will be to show how the two different theories come into agreement or disagreement on how to understand or read the text in question.

GRADING: The mid-term, the paper, and the final exam will each count 25%. The 3 quizzes will be 15%.  The additional 10% will result from the quality (not quantity) of class participation and attendance.   Each student will be expected to read the material assigned for the indicated date and come prepared to discuss the texts in class.

COURSE ASSISTANTS:  

Arsalan MEMON <sadlove19@yahoo.com>  Office hours: TBA

Mariya NORENBERG <mnorenbe@ic.sunysb.edu>  Office hours: TBA

DATE

TOPIC

READING

CH

TEXT

YEAR

 

Sept. 8

INTRODUCTION: What is Aesthetic Theory?

TEXTUALITIES, PART I

 CH. 1-5

 

 

 

Sept 12 & 14

Heidegger on the Origin of the Work of Art

HEIDEGGER:

POETRY LANGUAGE THOUGHT

 

“The Origin of the Work of Art”

[1935-36]

 

Sept 19 & 21

 

 

HEIDEGGER:

POETRY LANGUAGE THOUGHT

 

“What are Poets For?”

“Language”

[1946]

[1950-51]

 

 Sept 26 & 28

Benjamin on mechanical reproducibility and its effects on the Work of Art concept

ILLUMINATIONS

 

“The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproducibility”

 [1936]

 

Oct. 3 & 5

Merleau-Ponty on indirect language and the experience of painting

THE MERLEAU-PONTY AESTHETICS READER

 

"Cezanne’s Doubt "

“Indirect Language and the Voices of Silence”

 

[1947]

[1951-52]

 Mosaic Conference – Winnipeg, Canada

“Following Derrida: Legacies” (Oct 4-7)

Oct. 10 & 12

Dufrenne on aesthetic experience – the object

 

 

PART I: CH. 1, 4, 5

 

 

Phenomenology of the Aesthetic Object

[1953]

SPEP Conference – Philadelphia (Oct 12-14)

mid-term exam handed out on Oct 12, due Oct. 17

Oct. 17 & 19

Dufrenne on aesthetic experience - perception

 

 

PART III & IV

 

Phenomenology of Aesthetic Perception

Critique of Aesthetic Experience

[1953]

 

Oct. 24 & 26

Merleau-Ponty on visibility in the arts

THE MERLEAU-PONTY AESTHETICS READER

 

"Eye and Mind"

[1960]

Merleau-Ponty CircleGeorge Mason University (Oct 26-28)

Oct. 31 & Nov. 2

Derrida on restoring truth to the question of the  work of art

DERRIDA: THE TRUTH IN PAINTING

 

 

Passe-Partout”

“Restitutions”

[1978]

 

Nov. 7 & 9

Derrida on disclosing truth in painting

DERRIDA: THE TRUTH IN PAINTING

 

 “+R”

[1978]

 paper due on November 14

Nov. 14 & 16 & 21

Lyotard on the avant-garde in art

 

LYOTARD: THE INHUMAN

 

“The Sublime and the Avant-Garde

“Newman: The Instant”

“Time Today”

[1988]

 

Nov. 23

thanksgiving recess

 

 

Nov. 28 & 30

Lyotard on the postmodern sublime

 

 

“Can Thought go on without a Body?

“Rewriting Modernity”

“Representation, Presentation, Unpresentable

“After the Sublime”

 

 

 

Dec. 5 & 7

 Nancy on ”touching” in the arts

THE MUSES

 

 “The Muses”

[1994]

 

Dec. 12

Perniola on art in the age of postmodernity

ART AND ITS SHADOWS

 

 
“Art and its Shadows” (incl. Forward)

 [2000]

 

Dec. 18-22

Week of final exams

DEC 21 – FINAL EXAM

5:00 – 7:30 P.M.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

REQUIRED

AUTHOR/EDITOR

TEXT

PUBLISHER

PRIMARY SELECTIONS

1.

HEIDEGGER, Martin

POETRY, LANGUAGE, THOUGHT

Harper & Row

"Origin of the Work of Art"

"What are Poets For"

2.

BENJAMIN, Walter

ILLUMINATIONS

Schocken

"The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproducibility"

3.

MERLEAU-PONTY, Maurice

(Johnson, ed)

THE MERLEAU-PONTY AESTHETICS READER

Northwestern

"Cezanne's Doubt"

"Eye and Mind"

4.

DUFRENNE, Mikel

PHENOMENOLOGY OF AESTHETIC EXPERIENCE

Northwestern

selected

5.

DERRIDA, Jacques

THE TRUTH IN PAINTING

Chicago

"+R"

"Restitutions"

6.

LYOTARD, Jean-Francois

THE INHUMAN

Stanford

selected

7.

NANCY, Jean-Luc

THE MUSES

Stanford

complete

8.

PERNIOLA, Mario

ART AND ITS SHADOW

Continuum

complete

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RECOMMENDED READINGS

1.

SILVERMAN, Hugh J.

TEXTUALITIES: BETWEEN HERMENEUTICS AND DECONSTRUCTION

Routledge

 

2.

ROSS, Stephen David

ART AND ITS SIGNIFICANCE

SUNY Press

 

3.

ECO, Umberto

HISTORY OF BEAUTY

Rizzoli