Race-ing Aesthetic Theory

Authored by: Monique Roelofs

The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Race

Print publication date:  December  2017
Online publication date:  November  2017

Print ISBN: 9780415711234
eBook ISBN: 9781315884424
Adobe ISBN:


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Aesthetics has long been embroiled in problematic racial theories and activities. Contemporary scholars and artists push back against this tradition of thought and practice. The racial heritage in aesthetics calls for revisions of key concepts in aesthetics, such as notions of experience, the body, normativity, value, culture, and the nation. Post- and decolonial theorists along with philosophers of race and critical race feminists have commenced this work, as have artists and other makers of cultural productions. First offering a quick glimpse of the troubled theoretical history these critical voices challenge, this chapter goes on to describe the new philosophical outlooks they open up. I will continue with a sample of the many other themes and approaches that surface in the sharply contested area where aesthetics and race are mutually determinative of each other. We will examine, in particular, the topics of aesthetic sustenance and pleasure, appropriation, everyday aesthetics, and the categories philosophers call aesthetic concepts.

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