Politics and Aesthetics

Aesthetics and political theory, especially as philosophical discourses, have been exceptionally active fields of study in Comparative Literature. Faculty research and teaching in aesthetics concern such issues as the different modalities of individual or collective experience, feeling, or sensation; form as presentation; and the status of reflective judgments arising from encounters with diverse artistic, cultural, and natural objects.

In politics, the questions include social contract theory; nationalism, cosmopolitanism, human rights, and the status of borders; group psychology; and the will of the people and theories of sovereignty. At the intersection of politics and aesthetics, our courses explore the affective-cultural constitution of national communities; the aesthetic appearance of the people as such; the interrelations among art, politics, technology, and media; and tragedy, violence, politics.