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The Politics of Aesthetics: Jacques Ranciere

Semester and Year WI 2009
Course Number K20.1546
Section 001
Days Mon,Tue,Wed,Thu,Fri
Time 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Units 4.0
Level U
Foundation Requirement


At a time when policy is often presented in a carefully crafted picture, ideology expressed in a well-turned phrase, and political aspirations are projected via spectacle, it is important to seriously interrogate the relationship between politics and aesthetics. The ideas of the French philosopher Jacques Rancière are uniquely valuable in this exploration, as he helps us think about the emancipatory power of the aesthetic to re-arrange our very way of understanding—and sensing —what is possible.  But, warns Rancière, art can also have the opposite function: reflecting the order as it is, excising disagreement, and thus banishing radical transformation to the realm of the insensible. Weaving together Ancient Greek and contemporary philosophy, Rancière is one of the most exciting, and demanding, thinkers exploring the intersection of politics and aesthetics writing today. In this intense, two-week seminar we will begin with his most accessible text, The Politics of Aesthetics, then travel back to his political masterwork, Disagreement, and then conclude with his latest book on The Future of the Image.

Course Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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