chapter  26
15 Pages

Race-ing Aesthetic Theory

WithMonique Roelofs

Aesthetics has long been embroiled in problematic racial theories and activities. Contemporary scholars and artists push back against this tradition of thought and practice. The racial heritage in aesthetics calls for revisions of key concepts in aesthetics, such as notions of experience, the body, normativity, value, culture, and the nation. Post- and decolonial theorists along with philosophers of race and critical race feminists have commenced this work, as have artists and other makers of cultural productions. The notion of culture holds center stage in Du Bois's and Fanon's aesthetics. Both philosophers comprehend culture and cultures as racialized forms of collectivity. Approaching aesthetic elements as ingredients of more encompassing cultural flows, they forge a framework for critically appraising and reshaping our investments in these elements and flows. Work on the entwinements of aesthetics and race sheds philosophical light on facets of experience, normativity, embodiment, and value. Exploring these dimensions, artists and theorists offer new conceptions of cultural life.