Doing Aesthetics with Arendt: How to See Things

Doing Aesthetics with Arendt: How to See Things

by Cecilia Sjöholm


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Cecilia Sjöholm reads Hannah Arendt as a philosopher of the senses, grappling with questions of vision, hearing, and touch even in her political work. Constructing an Arendtian theory of aesthetics from the philosopher's fragmentary writings on art and perception, Sjöholm begins a vibrant new chapter in Arendt scholarship that expands her relevance for contemporary philosophers.

Arendt wrote thoughtfully about the role of sensibility and aesthetic judgment in political life and on the power of art to enrich human experience. Sjöholm draws a clear line from Arendt's consideration of these subjects to her reflections on aesthetic encounters and works of art mentioned in her published writings and stored among her memorabilia. This delicate effort allows Sjöholm to revisit Arendt's political concepts of freedom, plurality, and judgment from an aesthetic point of view and incorporate Arendt's insight into current discussions of literature, music, theater, and visual art. Though Arendt did not explicitly outline an aesthetics, Sjöholm's work substantively incorporates her perspective into contemporary reckonings with radical politics and their relationship to art.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780231173087
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 08/18/2015
Series: Columbia Themes in Philosophy, Social Criticism, and the Arts
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 8.90(w) x 6.00(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Cecilia Sjöholm is professor of aesthetics at Södertörn University. Her research focuses on issues in phenomenology and aesthetics, with a particular emphasis on the history of aesthetics and its relation to politics. Her books include Regionality/Mondiality: Perspectives on Art, Aesthetics, and Globalization (with Charlotte Bydler); Kristeva and the Political; and The Antigone Complex: Ethics and the Invention of Feminine Desire.

Table of Contents

1. Sensing Space: Art and the Public Sphere
2. The Work of Art
3. The Encroachment of Others
4. Tensions of Law: Tragedy and the Visibility of Lives
5. Comedy in the Dark: Arendt, Chaplin, and Anti-Semitism

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