Aesthetics for Birds

Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art for Everyone

October 22, 2019
by Aesthetics for Birds
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Five Philosophers Discuss “Joker” [spoilers]

This month saw the US release of the newest installment in the DC Comics film franchise, Joker. The film has been the subject of heated debate, with some having enormously positive responses, and others having enormously negative ones. Some see it as just a well-done villain origin story. Others see it as bringing more light to mental health and social support systems. And yet others see it as humanizing and even valorizing white male violence and the mass killings that have become too common in the contemporary US landscape. We thought we would gather up some philosophers working on ethics and the philosophy of art to give their takes on the movie. Below, you’ll see what they have to say about how Joker treats villainy and evil, race, and moral responsibility, as well as what we should learn from all of the debate and disagreement that surrounds it.

January 31, 2019
by Aesthetics for Birds
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Sterling HolyWhiteMountain on Blood Quantum, Native Art, and Cultural Appropriation

Blackfeet author Sterling HolyWhiteMountain talks about what it means to call something “Native Art” and whether it’s a useful category. Continue reading

April 5, 2018
by Aesthetics for Birds
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Freedom, Oppression, and Black Consciousness in “get Out”

The following post appears as part of a partnership with the APA Blog. The original appears here. Having recently viewed Jordan Peele’s award-winning Get Out (2017), political theorist Derefe Kimarley Chevannes was prompted to discuss the film with philosopher Lewis Gordon, whose writings include discussions of race in horror films and literature.

February 20, 2018
by Aesthetics for Birds
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Bottom Rail on Top This Time: Politics, Myth, Culture and Afro-fantacism in Ryan Coogler’s Black Panter

What follows is a guest post by Charles Peterson (Oberlin College) I. As Walter Mosley observes in his essay “Black to the Future,” the genre(s) of science fiction/fantasy neé Afro-futurism speak clearly to the dissatisfied through their power to imagine the first step in changing the world: Black people have been cut off from their African ancestry by the scythe of slavery and from an American heritage by being excluded from history. For us, science fiction offers an alternative where that which deviates from the norm is the norm. As such, African-descended people have long understood and utilized the power of narrative to generate the images and ideas that will spark the liberatory imaginings of the sufferers. Particularly in the realms of the fantastic have characters, scenarios, and worlds been constructed to expose the truths of the world as it is and reveal the possibilities of worlds that could be. … Continue reading

November 29, 2017
by Aesthetics for Birds
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The ASA at 75: Diversity and the Tipping Point

The following is a guest post by Charles Peterson (Oberlin College). This is the third of three companion pieces that reflect on the ASA’s 75th anniversary. Click here for the first, by A.W. Eaton, and the second, by Paul C. Taylor. See also the ASA Officers’ response letter here. The age of 75 can signify multiple indicators. At 75 years old, an ant would be ancient. At 75 years old a mountain would be considered infantile in its span and at 75 years old a human being, has lived to a ripe and healthy age. For an academic organization, 75 years is a perfect time to celebrate its longevity and take stock of its future. The American Society for Aesthetics is at this point in regards to the inclusion of diverse scholars and discourses in its proceedings.  The ASA stands at the threshold where its present efforts to open up, … Continue reading

November 27, 2017
by Aesthetics for Birds
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The ASA at 75: ‘splaining and Safaris

What follows is a guest post by Paul C. Taylor (Penn State). [Updated:] This is the second of three companion pieces that reflect on the ASA’s 75th anniversary. Click here for the first, by A.W. Eaton, and the third, by Charles Peterson. See also the ASA Officers’ response letter here. By the time my father turned 75, he was freely exercising the wide-ranging license to offend that family elders often enjoy. He could say or do pretty much anything, and we would chalk it up to him being set in his ways. We would weigh the costs and benefits of contesting his frequently insensitive and sometimes just rude behavior, or of reminding him of all the considerations that militate against talking about women or Jews or whatever like that anymore. And we would usually decide that discretion was the better part of valour, and we would let him alone. So on he … Continue reading

November 27, 2017
by Aesthetics for Birds
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The ASA at 75: How Are We Doing with Diversity and Inclusion?

What follows is a guest post by A.W. Eaton (University of Illinois-Chicago). [Updated:] This is the first of three companion pieces that reflect on the ASA’s 75th anniversary. Click here for the second, by Paul C. Taylor, and the third, by Charles Peterson. See also the ASA Officers’ response letter here. The 75th anniversary of the American Society of Aesthetics is an opportunity to reflect upon both our progress regarding inclusion and diversity and also upon the remaining work to be done. I discuss them here in turn.

April 26, 2017
by Rebecca Millsop
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ASA Student Travel Grants to Conference on Race, Art and Aesthetics

The Board of Trustees of the American Society for Aesthetics has approved $7,000 in funding to support the conference on “Exploring Beauty and Truth in World of Color: Race, Art and Aesthetics in the 21st Century.” The conference, organized by Professor Charles Peterson, will be held at Oberlin College September 29-30, 2017. The ASA Trustees also approved an additional $1,000 to support travel by ASA student members to attend the conference. The conference will be free and open to the public. KEYNOTE ADDRESS: Kymberly Pinder (University of New Mexico) FASHION Siobhan Carter-David (University of Southern Connecticut) Monica Miller (Barnard College) Christina Moon (New School-Parsons) TECHNOLOGY Sam Liao (University of Puget Sound) Mariana Ortega (John Carroll University) AFRO-FUTURISM RaShelle Peck (Oberlin College) Meredith Gadsby (Oberlin College) HUMOR Gillian Johns (Oberlin College) Luvell Anderson (University of Memphis) Lissa Skiltolsky (Susquehanna University) VISUAL ARTS (Film) Dan Flory (University of Montana) Matt Strohl (University … Continue reading