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.

Related people

Image of Cathy Caruth
Cathy Caruth

Class of 1916 Professor of English

Image of Patricia Keller
Patricia Keller

Associate Professor of Spanish and Comparative Literature

Image of Philip Lorenz
Philip Lorenz

Associate Professor

Image of Tracy McNulty
Tracy McNulty


Image of Gavin Walker
Gavin Walker


All research areas

Comparative and World Literature    Comparative Media Studies    Critical Studies of Race, Gender, and Sexuality    Literary Theory and Translation Studies    Literature, Science, and the Environment    Politics and Aesthetics    Psychoanalysis and Trauma Studies    Transregional and Postcolonial Studies