GER 521

Topics in German Intellectual History: Aesthetics and (Un)Freedom

Fall 2020
01:30 pm – 04:20 pm

Do aesthetic practices harbor radical political potential, or have they been co-opted by the creative economy's imperative of relentless aesthetic innovation? This seminar explores a formative motif of German critical thought: the notion that some feature of art or aesthetics--the plenitude of aesthetic experience, the indeterminacy of aesthetic judgment, or unconstrained artistic form--prefigures political freedom. We will trace this motif from Schiller's political reading of Kant to the Frankfurt School's engagement with avant-garde art and conclude by interrogating the status of aesthetics in contemporary theory and culture.