Nasheli Jiménez del Val


I would like to start out with Aimé Césaire’s idea that no one group “holds a monopoly on beauty, intelligence, and strength”. While Western-European philosophy may have appropriated for itself the category of the aesthetic, sensory pleasure and appreciation of creativity are not exclusive to this paradigm. With this in mind, this paper will look at two approaches for theorizing aesthetics beyond a Western-European framework. Through Ella Shohat and Robert Stam’s work on polycentric aesthetics, I will look at a multicultural model for thinking about aesthetics in a non-Eurocentric framework. And through Walter Mignolo’s decolonial aesthesis, I will consider a modernity / coloniality model for thinking about aesthetics in the framework of decoloniality. After presenting some of the main ideas from these models, I will set them into a dialogue with each other, finding the points of convergence and divergence between them. Finally, I will sketch out some potential avenues for a rehabilitation of the category of aesthetics in the field of visual studies.

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