New Books

The Politics of Aesthetics ( BH39 .R3513 2004 ) “rethinks the relation between art and politics, reclaiming ‘aesthetics’ from its current narrow confines to reveal its significance for contemporary experience. Presented as a set of inter-linked interviews, The Politics of Aesthetics ranges across art and politics, the uses and abuses of modernity, the role of visual technologies, the relationship between history and fiction, utopias, the avant-garde and the three aesthetic regimes which constitute the ‘partitions of the sensible.’ Already translated into five languages, this English edition of The Politics of Aesthetics includes a new afterword by Slavoj Zizek and a new interview with Ranciere.”

Empathic Vision ( N8257 .B46 2005 ) analyses contemporary visual art produced in the context of conflict and trauma from a range of countries, including Colombia, Northern Ireland, South Africa, and Australia. It focuses on what makes visual language unique, arguing that the “affective” quality of art contributes to a new understanding of the experience of trauma and loss. By extending the concept of empathy, it also demonstrates how we might, through art, make connections with people in different parts of the world whose experiences differ from our own. The book makes a distinct contribution to trauma studies, which has tended to concentrate on literary forms of expression. It also offers a sophisticated theoretical analysis of the operations of art, drawing on philosophers such as Gilles Deleuze, but setting this within a postcolonial framework. You can read the first chapter here.

How does the spectacle of the sufferings of others (via television or newsprint) affect us? Are viewers inured–or incited–to violence by the depiction of cruelty? In Regarding the Pain of Others ( HM 554 .S65 2003x ), Susan Sontag takes a fresh look at the representation of atrocity–from Goya’s The Disasters of War to photographs of the American Civil War, lynchings of blacks in the South, and the Nazi death camps, to contemporary horrific images of Bosnia, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Israel and Palestine, and New York City on September 11, 2001. Read an excerpt here.

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