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"I suggest that although at any given place and moment the aesthetic expressions of a political system just are that political system, the concepts are separable. Typically, aesthetic aspects of political systems shift in their meaning over time, or even are inverted or redeployed with an entirely transformed effect. You cannot understand politics without understanding the aesthetics of politics, but you cannot understand aesthetics as politics. The point is precisely to show the concrete nodes at which two distinct discourses coincide or connive, come apart or coalesce."-from Political Aesthetics
Juxtaposing and connecting the art of states and the art of art historians with vernacular or popular arts such as reggae and hip-hop, Crispin Sartwell examines the reach and claims of political aesthetics. Most analysts focus on politics as discursive systems, privileging text and reducing other forms of expression to the merely illustrative. He suggests that we need to take much more seriously the aesthetic environment of political thought and action.
Sartwell argues that graphic style, music, and architecture are more than the propaganda arm of political systems; they are its constituents. A noted cultural critic, Sartwell brings together the disciplines of political science and political philosophy, philosophy of art and art history, in a new way, clarifying basic notions of aesthetics-beauty, sublimity, and representation-and applying them in a political context. A general argument about the fundamental importance of political aesthetics is interspersed with a group of stimulating case studies as disparate as Leni Riefenstahl's films and Black Nationalist aesthetics, the Dead Kennedys and Jeffersonian architecture.
Identities, Sexualities, and the Theater of Gender
More than any other area of late-twentieth-century thinking, gender theory and its avatars have been to a large extent a Franco-American invention. In this book, a leading Franco-American scholar traces differences and intersections in the development of gender and queer theories on both sides of the Atlantic. Looking at these theories through lenses that are both “American” and “French,” thus simultaneously retrospective and anticipatory, she tries to account for their alleged exhaustion and currency on the two sides of the Atlantic. The book is divided into four parts. In the first, the author examines two specifically “American” features of gender theories since their earliest formulations: on the one hand, an emphasis on the theatricality of gender (from John Money’s early characterization of gender as “role playing” to Judith Butler’s appropriation of Esther Newton’s work on drag queens); on the other, the early adoption of a “queer” perspective on gender issues. In the second part, the author reflects on a shift in the rhetoric concerning sexual minorities and politics that is prevalent today. Noting a shift from efforts by oppressed or marginalized segments of the population to make themselves “heard” to an emphasis on rendering themselves “visible,” she demonstrates the formative role of the American civil rights movement in this new drive to visibility. The third part deals with the travels back and forth across the Atlantic of “sexual difference,” ever since its elevation to the status of quasi-concept by psychoanalysis. Tracing the “queering” of sexual difference, the author reflects on both the modalities and the effects of this development. The last section addresses the vexing relationship between Western feminism and capitalism. Without trying either to commend or to decry this relationship, the author shows its long-lasting political and cultural effects on current feminist and postfeminist struggles and discourses. To that end, she focuses on one of the intense debates within feminist and postfeminist circles, the controversy over prostitution.
Olivier Messiaen's Breakthrough Toward the Beyond
Present-day music studies conspicuously evade the question of religion in contemporary music. Although many composers address the issue in their work, as yet there have been few attempts to think through the structureof religious music as we hear it.The work of Olivier Messiaen is well known for its inclusion of religious themes and gestures. On the basis of a careful analysis of Messiaen’s work, this book argues for a renewal of our thinking about religious music.Starting from an analysis of his 1960s oratorio La Transfiguration de Notre-Seigneur Jésus-Christ, van Maas arranges a moderated dialogue between Messiaen and the music theology of Hans Urs von Balthasar, thephenomenology of revelation of Jean-Luc Marion, the rethinking of religion and technics in Jacques Derrida and Bernard Stiegler, and the Augustinian ruminations of Søren Kierkegaard and Jean-François Lyotard. Ultimately,this confrontation underscores the challenging yet deeply affirmative nature of Messiaen’s music.
inquiry into the self, art, and transcendence
The book first argues that religious feeling persists in the secular western mind; that it has taken refuge in the unlikeliest of camps, indeed with the supposed debunker of religious creed: the rationalist existential ego.
Heideggerian Reflections on Literature, Architecture, and Film
Much recent philosophical work proposes to illuminate dilemmas of human existence with reference to the arts and culture, often to the point of submitting particular works to preconceived formulations. In this examination of three texts that respond to loss, Robert Mugerauer responds with close, detailed readings that seek to clarify the particularity of the intense force such works bring forth. Mugerauer shows how, in the face of what is irrevocably taken away as well as of what continues to be given, the unavoidable task of interpretation is ours alone._x000B__x000B_Mugerauer examines works in three different forms that powerfully call on us to respond to loss: Cormac McCarthy’s The Crossing, Daniel Libeskind’s Jewish Museum Berlin, and Wim Wenders’s film Wings of Desire. Explicating these difficult but rich works with reference to the thought of Martin Heidegger, Jean-Luc Marion, Hannah Arendt, and Immanuel Levinas, the author helps us to experience the multiple and diverse ways in which all of us are opened to the saturated phenomena of loss, violence, witnessing, and responsibility._x000B_
Conceptual Issues in the Quest for Social Order and National Integration
Rethinking Security in Nigeria adopts an alternate conceptual and methodological framework for rethinking national security in Nigeria by using the humanities' multidisciplinary perspective against the backdrop of the hitherto restrictive analysis of the nature of national security. By expounding the largely unexplored cosmological, conceptual, ethical and aesthetic dimensions as key contributors to national survival and social integration, the volume argues systematically for a basic redefinition of the meanings of security, the value of life, government action and social re-engineering in order to create a new system of social order an integration. The authors attempt to extend the boundaries of previous theorizing on security by identifying alternate ethical and aesthetic approaches to national reconciliation and human development in present-day Nigeria, which faces major security challenges requiring the clarification of the basis for developing a just and harmonious society. The study is a contribution to the quest for defining the vital socio-cultural norms and doctrinal imperatives needed for responsible cooperative human action. It examines the roles of dominant works of philosophy, literature, plays and performances in the creation of a basis for political stability and social reconciliation in the society. It extends the boundaries of previous aesthetic studies and redefines the roles of ethics and aesthetics as crucial contributors to security, human development and world civilisation.
Music, Aesthetics, Politics
Renowned for his influence as a political philosopher, a writer, and an autobiographer, Jean-Jacques Rousseau is known also for his intense interest in music. He composed operas and other musical pieces,invented a system of numbered musical notation, engaged in public debates about music, and wrote at length about musical theory. Critical analysis of Rousseau’s work in music has been principally the domain of musicologists, rarely pervading the work of scholars of political theory or literary studies. In Rousseau Among the Moderns, Julia Simon argues for new interpretations of The Social Contract, The Discourse on the Origin of Inequality, and The Confessions, as well as other texts, linking Rousseau’s understanding of key concepts in music, such as tuning, harmony, melody, and form, to the crucial problem of the individual’s relationship to the social order. The choice of music as the privileged aesthetic object enables Rousseau to gain insight into the role of the aesthetic realm in relation to the social and political body in ways often associated with later thinkers. Simon argues that much of Rousseau’s “modernism” resides in the unique role that he assigns to music in forging communal relations through the aesthetic.