Rhetoric of Contemporary Political Thought
157B | CCN: 77935
Instructor: Felipe Gutterriez
Date / Time: TuTh 330-5P, 209 DWINELLE
"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.
There will be short written assignments, class presentations , a midterm and a final.
Kompridis, Nikolas, ed. The Aesthetic Turn in Political Thought. Bloomsbury Publishing USA, 2014.
Additional readings available either online or in course reader
Class attendance is required