• Advanced Problems in the Rhetoric of Political Theory

    158 | CCN: 22192

    The Aesthetic Turn in Political Theory

    Instructor: Felipe Gutterriez

    4 Units

    Prerequisite: Consent of the Instructor

    "Fiat ars-pereat mundus, " says fascism, expecting from war,
    as Marinetti admits, the artistic gratification of a sense
    perception altered by technology. This is evidently the
    consummation of l’art pour l’art. Humankind, which once,
    in Homer, was an object of contemplation for the Olympian
    gods, has now become one for itself. Its self-alienation has
    reached, the point where it can experience its own annihilation
    as a supreme aesthetic pleasure. Such is the aestheticizing
    of politics, as practiced by fascism. Communism replies by
    politicizing art.

    ̶ Walter Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibilty” (Third Version, 1939)

    A fascist aestheticization of politics is an ever-present
    possibility of modern politics, but it is not by any means
    a necessary consequence of politics being aesthetic in
    principle. If politics is also about what can appear and
    how it appears to sense, about what can be seen and heard
    and what can’t be seen and heard; if it is about what we
    are able to see and hear and what we are unable to see
    and hear, then democratic politics is about letting what
    could not be seen and heard be seen and heard by cultivating new ways of seeing and hearing.

    ̶ Nikolas Kompridis, The Aesthetic Turn in Political Thought

    In this course we will consider the turn to aesthetics in contemporary political theory and the role of rhetoric in this turn.

    Required Texts:

    Kompridis, Nikolas, ed. The Aesthetic Turn in Political Thought. Bloomsbury Publishing USA, 2014.

    Additional readings available either online or in course reader.

    Assignments: There will be short written assignments, class presentations , a midterm and a final.

    Attendance: Class attendance is required. Students missing a class during the first two weeks will be dropped from the course.