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Abstract

Many theoretical writings on aesthetics and politics rely on hard distinctions between what is and is not art, and what is and is not political. In this article, I draw on the work of theorists, knitters, and fiber artists to argue that hand knitting provides a lens through which to unsettle some of these distinctions. I illustrate some of the ways in which aesthetic theory relies on hard distinctions between art and not-art and politics and not-politics, with particular focus on the work of Kant, Hegel, Heidegger, and Rancière. I explain how knitting is often seen as falling clearly outside the definitions of art and politics, and explore the surprising ways in which knitting shows the instability of these categories and expectations. I show that common social traditions and practices that often go unanalyzed can provide insight into the limitations and complexities of prevalent theoretical assumptions

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