This faculty reading group is devoted to the concept and practice of world aesthetics. The immediate impetus behind this book club is the recent wave of translations and reconsiderations of theoretical and comparative aesthetics from around the globe—including early- to mid-twentieth-century European figures such as Andre Jolles, Hans Blumenberg, and Georges Simondon, but also texts such as A Rasa Reader edited by Sheldon Pollock, Shahab Ahmed’s What Is Islam?, recent comparative studies of love poetry in early modern Europe and the Ottoman empire, and the work of the Brazilian anthropologist Eduardo Viveiros de Castro. We take these publications as an inspiration for a broader historical and geographical reexamination of the genealogies, stakes, and canons of contemporary aesthetic theory. This seems to us like a pressing question on its own terms, and also like a great opportunity to bring together diverse ladder and nonladder faculty from the humanities and social sciences.
We are grateful to the Office of the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and the Deputy Dean for Diversity and Faculty Development for their financial support, and to the Whitney Humanities Center for promotional support.