•  
  •  
 

Abstract

This essay examines the links between aesthetics and race through the lenses of accepted distinctions between Western and non-Western, colonial and postcolonial, national and transnational aesthetics, and questions the validity of the claim that there is an inherent and incommensurable difficulty in translating non-Western aesthetic thought into Western aesthetic thought. First, I argue that Manichean models are insufficient to understand the dynamics of the encounter between Western and non-Western aesthetics. Second, I illustrate the complexity of non-Western and Western aesthetics relations through the example of the encounter between Aimé Césaire’s Negritude and André Breton’s surrealism. I argue that this encounter exemplifies non-ideal translation, the temporary rendering from one framework into the other, and instantiates relationality. Third, I argue that it is possible to understand and accommodate various aesthetic experiences and different aesthetic frameworks by exploring modes of discerning between different kinds of others and different kinds of selves, and that cosmopolitanism could, but does not, provide the necessary conditions for such reversal.

Included in

Esthetics Commons

Share

COinS
 

To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.