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The Force of Aesthetics: Power,Imagination, Affects: An International Conference

Tuesday, April 29, 2014 at 10:00 am to 7:00 pm

Wolff Conference Room, Room D1103, Albert and Vera List Academic Center, 1103 6 East 16th Street, New York, NY 10003, Room D1103

The Force of Aesthetics: Power, Imagination, Affects - An International Conference is a 2-day event sponsored by the Department of Philosophy at the New School for Social Research, as well as Goethe University and the German research foundation Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft.

Imagination, power, affect – these three very different phenomena all have in common the fact that they are forces operating within human practices. The experience of forces is perhaps the most familiar to us in the realm of art. From the force involved in artistic creation, to the intensity of aesthetic experience – whose peculiar impact on the beholder exceeds concepts and mere feelings – art is characterized by several forces and is inconceivable without them. This manifest connection between art and force is the reason why aesthetics has tended to reflect on the relationship between creation, judgment and force. However, a closer examination of aesthetic discourse shows that it is far more than a theory of art. Aesthetics is concerned – as Kant’s Critique of Judgment reveals – not only with human capacities that are involved in the contemplation of aesthetic objects, but is also internally connected with other realms of human practiced like morals or politics.

This workshop thus starts from the assumption that the dimension of force can manifest itself in different registers, as e.g. those of imagination, power and affect. Each of the three modalities is not necessarily confined to a specific sort of practice; rather, they ought to be conceived as different modalities in which forces display themselves within human practices and affect their participants or beholders. Besides the very basic question of how an aesthetics of force is to be conceived at all, the workshop would like to focus on the phenomenology of forces in different realms of art. How do works of art and practices display their force? What kind of perspective and vocabulary do we need in order to articulate and elaborate on this dimension? How do we experience forces and make judgments about them? 

Monday, April 28
Panel 1: "Force" 9:15-11:45 a.m.

 - Christoph Menke, Frankfurt
 - Juliane Rebentisch, Offenbach
 - Dirk Setton, Frankfurt
 - Chair: Jay Bernstein, The New School

Panel 2: "Politics" 12:00-1:30 p.m.
 - Chiara Bottici, The New School
 - Francesca Raimondi, Frankfurt
 - Chair: Dmitri Nikulin, The New School 

Panel 3: "Law" 3:30-5:00 p.m.
 - Andreas Fischer-Lescano, Bremen
 - Peter Goodrich, Cardozo
 - Chair: Thomas Khurana, Frankfurt

Panel 4: "Literature" 5:30-7:00 p.m.
 - Miguel de Beistegui, Warwick
 - Katrin Trustedt, Yale/Erfurt
 - Chair: Ryan Gustafson, The New School

Tuesday, April 29
Panel 1: "New Media" 10:00-11:30 a.m.

 - Ken Wark, The New School
 - Steven Shaviro, Wayne State
 - Chair: Mark Greif, The New School

Panel 2: "Music" 12:00-1:30 p.m.
 - Lydia Goehr, Columbia
 - Stefania de Kenessey, The New School
 - Chair: Maria Pia Lara, U Autonoma Metropolitana

Panel 3: "Film" 3:30-5:00 p.m.
 - Frank Ruda, Freie Universitat Berlin
 - Christiane Voss, Weimar
 - Chair: Benjamin Evans, The New School

Panel 4: "Theatre" 5:30-7:00 p.m.
 - Simon Critchley, The New School
 - Paul Kottman, The New School
 - Chair: Lisabeth During, Pratt

Event Type

Conferences and Symposia


General Public


The New School for Social Research




Free and open to the public; seating is first come, first served.

Admin Notes

UV OK 04/16/14

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The A, C and E to 14th St. and 8th Ave.
The 1, 2 and 3 to 14th St. and 7th Ave.
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