Litteraria Pragensia Special Issue (Call for Papers)

Towards a New Aesthetics: Technology, Intensity, Heterogeneity

eds. Martin Procházka, Brian Rosebury & Louis Armand

If man is ever to solve that problem of politics in practice, he will have to approach it through the problem of the aesthetic, because it is only through beauty that man makes his way to Freedom” (Schiller)

Following Schiller´s Letters on Aesthetic Education, aesthetics came for a time to be seen as a political instrument, and identified as a means of improving and even perfecting society. In the last century, its public status began to be seen more negatively, as in its deconstruction by Paul de Man as aesthetic ideology, based upon progressivist notions of “technology” and “systems of formalization”. Aesthetics lost some of its confidence and authority, and often found itself on the defensive as an academic discipline.

A number of recent attempts have been made, however, to reassert its importance for the present. The claims of “aesthetic specificity” are argued in John Joughin and Simon Malpas (eds.), The New Aestheticism (2003). Other approaches, such as those of Vilém Flusser and Friedrich Kittler, have focused upon the importance of the link between modern communication technologies and artistic creation, and the impact of contemporary media and mass culture on the transformation of aesthetics. Such approaches proceed radically beyond such earlier preoccupations as the aesthetics of representation, romantic notions of irony and the fragment, and Adorno´s negative aesthetics.

A special issue of Litteraria Pragensia will attempt to explore and assess aspects of the contemporary ferment in aesthetics, and its relation to and significance for contemporary society, culture and politics. Proposals are invited on any topic within this broadly defined field; we particularly invite submissions on such topics as the following.

1. transformation of traditional aesthetics by mass culture (kitsch, schlock, etc.)

2. interaction of aesthetics and communication technologies

3. prevalence of the aesthetics of intensity and heterogeneity (from the eighteenth-century notions of the picturesque to Deleuzean machines and rhizomes).

Abstracts (up to 300 words) should be submitted by 31 May 2006. Papers, of up to 7000 words, should be submitted by 30 September 2006. Please address all correspondence to:

Professor Martin Procházka

Department of English and American Studies

Charles University

Jana Palacha 2, 116 38 Prague 1

Czech Republic