The Power of Beauty: Aesthetics, Politics, Morality
Graduate Student Symposium
Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT Saturday, April 5th, 2008, 9am-6.30pm, keynote lecture 5:30pm
This one-day graduate student symposium will explore the aesthetic, political and moral power of beauty.
In 2005, Elizabeth Prettejohn’s book Beauty and Art set out to challenge “the late-twentieth-century view of beauty as irrevocably opposed to any form of responsible politics” by exploring beauty’s “capacity to stimulate fresh thinking and fresh debate.” The symposium will consider the issues surrounding beauty, both within the discipline of art history and more broadly in the arts and humanities, and will evaluate its potential as a subject of intellectual inquiry in today’s academic climate.
We seek to focus the discussion through the close study of objects. To this end, the program will include break-out sessions in the Center’s visiting exhibitions and permanent collections.
Topics may include but are not restricted to:
• beauty as power: whether dangerous or redeeming
• the political uses of beauty
• beauty as commodity and/or its relationship with fetishism
• concepts of beauty derived from philosophy
• beauty and issues of gender
• historical accounts charting the development of the term and/or contextualising its theorisation in a particular period
• the cultural specificity of beauty and/or its potential universality
• literary accounts of the beautiful and related terms such as the picturesque and the sublime
• the relationship between beauty and subjectivity
• the status of beauty within modernism
• the significance of beauty for the study of material culture
• the current status of beauty in the arts and humanities
We invite proposals for 30-minute papers on this theme from graduate students across the arts and humanities. Special consideration will be given to papers examining the topic in relation to British art and culture. Cross-disciplinary approaches and comparative studies are particularly welcome.
Please submit abstracts of no more than 300 words to Imogen Hart, Research Department, Yale Center for British Art, PO Box 208280, New Haven, CT 06520-8280 or to email@example.com by November 30, 2007.
Travel funds for speakers are available upon application.
Support for this symposium has been generously provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Yale Center for British Art
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