Advanced Problems in the Rhetoric of Political Theory
158 | CCN: 29871
The Aesthetic Turn in Political Theory
Instructor: Felipe Gutterriez
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 both theory and practice the role of aesthetics in politics has frequently been reduced to that of spectacle, to what has been described as “a series of false imperatives that masquerade as truth.” However, the recent work of political theorists has raised the possibility of a transformative aesthetics of democratic politics. We will read some of this work in order to consider what it would mean to 1) cultivate new ways of seeing and hearing that 2) allow us to see and hear what could not be seen and heard.
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 (~ 1page) written assignments, a midterm and a final.
Prerequisite: Consent of the Instructor