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Aesthetic Education: A Twenty-First-Century Primer

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Organizer: Kate Stanley

Co-Organizer: Nick Gaskill

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This seminar seeks to stimulate discussion about the aims and assumptions of aesthetic education. When we teach literature—when we encourage students to read in particular ways or to appreciate certain kinds of text—what do we hope to produce? And how do we think we produce it? Our seminar welcomes papers that approach these questions theoretically, historically, and/or practically. We are interested not only in what aesthetic education has meant but also, and even more, in what it could or should mean now. As such our topic aims to facilitate a wider discussion about the methods and objects of literary study and the specific institutions, contexts, and practices that define our discipline. 
 
Possible topics to be considered include: 

The politics of aesthetic education, especially accounts of the specific ways that we might link the aesthetic, pedagogical, and/or critical activity with political change. 
The role of judgment and taste in aesthetic education. 
The relationship between aesthetic education and daily living.
Notions of aesthetic value, perhaps in relation to other modes of value (e.g., debates about the practical use-value of aesthetics).
Reflections on pedagogical practices within literary study, including potential sites of pedagogical reform in our approaches to aesthetic education. 
Historical or philosophical accounts of aesthetic education or some of its components (e.g., Schiller, Dewey, Rancière).
Aesthetics as the training of the senses.
Specific practices of aesthetic education, whether through criticism, university education, or public projects, past or present. 
The distinctiveness of literary studies among the other artistic or humanistic disciplines, in terms of how it has developed or what it might offer. Can literature and/or criticism produce specific forms of thinking or knowing? 
The relationship between conventional humanities classrooms and alternate spaces of aesthetic encounter and learning. 

Please submit abstracts of 250-300 words via the ACLA website by September 23.
Anyone interested in submitting a proposal for this seminar should first contact the organizers at nicholas.gaskill@oriel.ox.ac.uk and/or kstanle4@uwo.ca 
 

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