As long ago as Plato's Republic, theorists have been concerned with the area of applied aesthetics-- or the interaction between art practices, ethics, and politics. This paper charts how students in an interdisciplinary course on 'Culture Wars' move from preconceptions of the arts as privatized and commodified to alternative aesthetic frameworks that recognize the arts as multidimensional. It explores how students' preconceptions reflect what I argue are larger, general patterns within the U.S.: ways I suggest we frequently tame, manage, and thereby diminish the power arts might have in our society. I show how such positions entail a general value relativism, and propose alternative pluralistic ways of understanding ethical, political, and aesthetic dimensions of art engagement that are instead public and collective. Drawing on current New York Times newspaper clippings to mimic one effective strategy from our classroom, I conclude by showing how teaching certain pluralist theorists alongside current culture wars flare-ups can help illuminate both.
|Keywords:||Art, Interdisciplinarity, Applied Aesthetics, Art, Ethics, And Politics, Moral Imagination, Aesthetics and Politics, Theodor Adorno, Herbert Marcuse, Max Horkheimer, Frankfurt School, Drucilla Cornell, John Dewey, Jane Addams, Hull-House, Pragmatists, Value Relativism, Value Subjectivism, Value Pluralism, Value Theory, Martha Nussbaum, Instrumental Rationality, Mimesis, Plato, The Republic|
Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy & Religion, Rollins College, USA
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