PHI 381 - G : AESTHETICS (II)

CONTEMPORARY EUROPEAN AESTHETIC THEORY

Prof. Hugh J. Silverman

FALL SEMESTER 2008

TUES -THURS 5:20 - 6:40 p.m

SB UNION 237

OFFICE HOURS: Tues 3:30 - 5:00 and by app't

[office: Harriman 203; tel: 631-632-7592]

 

 

FOCUS:  

What is artistic expression, meaning, culture? How are the arts situated and mediated in historical, political, cultural experience and understanding?  In what way do the arts mediate and become the media themselves? What are the limits to what is called “art?” And does it even make sense to talk about “works of art” today? 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, Cinema Studies, Art, Music, Theater, English, European Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, Hispanic Languages and Literatures.

 

TEXTS (selections from the following books):

 

RECOMMENDED READING: