Aesthetics in the Expanded Field

Aesthetics in the Expanded Field

Cezanne, Dish of Apples, 1876-77

Cezanne, Dish of Apples, 1876-77

Although philosophers and other theorists have been interested in beauty and art for millennia, aesthetics as a distinct discipline did not emerge until the eighteenth century when Baumgarten defined it as ‘the science of sensuous cognition’ and various philosophers and critics explored the nature of art and taste. Although philosophy is often treated as the disciplinary home of aesthetic investigation, experimental aesthetics is one of the oldest branches of research psychology, and artists, critics and theorists from across the disciplines have made important contributions to the subject.

But although there is important work being down in contemporary aesthetics across a wide range of disciplines (art history, literature, marketing, neuroscience, philosophy, psychology, etc.), this work tends to be done in disciplinary isolation. The goal of our group, Aesthetics in the Expanded Field, will be to explore the possibilities for cross-disciplinary and outward-facing collaborative research on aesthetics at the University of Georgia. Ultimately, we believe that UGA can become an internationally recognized center of excellence in interdisciplinary aesthetics. Forming this group is the first step in exploring how to achieve that status.

During our first year, we propose to examine some of the following themes:

  • Aesthetics and innovation.
  • Aesthetics as a space for collaboration between scientists and humanities researchers.
  • Artists as aestheticians.
  • The importance of beauty in the narrative arts.
  • The ethical implications of aesthetic conventions, objects and performances.
  • The role of aesthetics in contemporary society and politics.

A distinctive strength of the research group is that members take very different approaches to aesthetics. The research perspectives and methodologies embraced by our participants include: contemporary analytic philosophy, contemporary cultural and critical theory, nineteenth century aesthetic theory, experimental studies of aesthetic cognition, language and perception, and the exploration of theoretical questions through creative activity.

Team Lead

Aaron Meskin
Department of Philosophy
aaron.meskin@uga.edu

Team Members

Chris Cuomo
Department of Philosophy

Renee Jagnow
Department of Philosophy

Codie Marrs
Department of English

Jason Payton
Department of English

David Saltz
Department of Theater and Film

Athanasios Samaras
Department of Philosophy

Rosanna Smith
Department of Marketing

Isabelle Wallace
School of Art

Magdalena Zurawski
Department of English