Skip to content Skip to navigation

Utopia and Critical Theory: Politics, Aesthetics, and Science (COMPLIT 371)


This seminar will study aesthetic theories and their political implications. Its goal is to apply aesthetic theories to the exploration of the image of ¿nature.¿ We will study Terry Eagleton¿s classic Ideology of the Aesthetic, which reviews the Western aesthetic tradition. We will read writings by Walter Benjamin, Adorno, and the French thinker Jacques Ranciere. We will study aesthetic theories by classical Chinese philosophers and modern thinkers such as like Li Zehou. Equipped with the dual perspective of aesthetics and politics, we will explore issues of nature, the environment, social ecology, and deep ecology. We will critique the anthropocentric stance toward natural environments, landscape, and wilderness. Delving into the issues of natural beauty, environmental ethic, politics, and literature, we will discuss the human body as an organism among other living organisms, the aesthetic of landscape, alienated labor, environment degradation, and dire consequences of technological civilization. Primary texts include Shen Congwen¿s fiction, Chinese SF works, and films.Chinese is not required. PhD students are required to write a term paper of 20-25 pages. MA and undergraduate students will write two short essays of 10 pages in response to the questions from readings and discussion.

Course ID: 
111 261
Letter (ABCD/NP)