The interest in aesthetics in philosophy, literary and cultural studies is growing rapidly. This book contains exemplary essays by key practitioners in these fields which demonstrate the importance of this area of enquiry. New aestheticism remains a troubled term and in current parlance it already comes loaded with the baggage of the 'philistine controversy' which first emerged in an exchange that originally that took place in the New Left Review during the mid-1990s. A serious aesthetic education is necessary for resisting the advance of 'philistinism'. Contemporary aesthetic production may be decentred and belonging to the past, but that is not a reason to underestimate what great works do that nothing else can. Despite well-established feminist work in literary criticism, film theory and art history, feminist aesthetics 'is a relatively young discipline, dating from the early 1990s'. The book focuses on the critical interrogation of the historical status of mimesis in the context of a gendered and racial politics of modernity. Throughout the history of literary and art criticism the focus has fallen on the creation or reception of works and texts. The book also identifies a fragmentary Romantic residue in contemporary aesthetics. The Alexandrian aesthetic underlies the experience of the 'allegorical'. 'Cultural poetics' makes clear the expansion of 'poetics' into a domain that is no longer strictly associated with 'poetry'. The book also presents an account of a Kantian aesthetic criticism, discussing Critique of Pure Reason, Critique of Aesthetic Judgement and Critique of Judgement.
-critical formations. Ewa Ziarek interrogates the recent history of feminist aesthetics and in a
post-culturalist reading which draws upon advances within post-colonialism and feminism, including the theories of female masquerade and colonial mimicry of Joan
Riviere, Frantz Fanon and Homi Bhabha, she oﬀers a reformulation of Adorno’s social
history of mimesis in the context of a ‘gendered and racialpolitics of modernity’. In
a reading which resonates powerfully with Docherty’s chapter Andrew Bowie reminds
us that theory’s suspicion of identificatory modes of thinking and its
What does race have to do with the Yugoslav region?
' insistence that US racialpolitics and eastern European ethnic-minority questions stem from separate, incomparable historical conditions is not too far from how white Dutch or Nordic progressives exempt their nations from reckoning with racism and whiteness: dividing the world into zones where racism and colonial violence are ‘an issue’ and zones where they are not. What drives postsocialist racial exceptionalism, Imre argued further in 2014 while calling for a ‘postcolonial media studies in postsocialist Europe’, is how ethnic-majority narratives of national identity blur
of a global consumer culture that commercialises racialised gazes and desires into exotica (Gilroy 2000 ) and of the complex global imagination of ‘America’: indeed, African-American music and musicians were important for US cultural diplomacy during the Cold War (Von Eschen 2006 ), towards Non-Aligned Yugoslavia (Vučetić 2012 ) as well as the USSR. Sounds, songs, stars and genres deeply embedded in US racialpolitics, from jazz to Michael Jackson through Motown, were also cultural artefacts that entered Yugoslavia as symbols of Americanness, coolness and
whiteness in diaspora
The Yugoslav region's worldwide diaspora communities, whether place-of-origin-based (‘zavičajni’), ethnonational or (post-)Yugoslav, encounter destination countries' formations of race and whiteness even as they reconfigure identities they know. Some destinations, like the USA, have unmissable, everyday racialpolitics, where migrants must try to understand the balance of interracial relations and determine how they, individually and collectively, might desire to be racialised or are racialised by others. In others (like Sweden or
African presence was nevertheless erased in a Soviet racialpolitics that ‘productively link[ed] Russianness to whiteness’ (Fikes and Lemon 2002 : 517) abroad.
Soviet racial formations influenced, but did not fully overwrite, constructions of race, whiteness and modernity in state socialist eastern Europe: adaptation to Soviet ideology was less an exercise in unthinking conformity, more an uneasy balance between responding to domestic factors and averting the coercion awaiting (as Hungary 1956 and Czechoslovakia 1968 reminded Communists elsewhere) a
policy was sometimes selectively deployed. This
shows, above all, how the British sought to manipulate their self-image
in relation to the racialpolitics of the island, in ways that flexibly
prioritised their own interests.
Despite the fact that that the ZMA had originally been a
British idea, and irrespective of the Association’s subsequent
popularity and success, the Colonial Medical Service showed
the critical social function of art, such an approach would contest the historical separation not only between political and aesthetic spheres but also between gender and
‘the colour line’ fracturing these spheres from within, while remaining suspicious of
their false reconciliation. Put in a diﬀerent way, feminist aesthetics has to find new
ways of mediation between the aesthetic autonomy of art and the sexual, racialpolitics of modernity without overcoming the productive tension between them. Rather
than subsuming art by politics, this mediation should
effects of racism, were important influences for the urgent contribution provided by the writers of The Empire Strikes Back (Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies 1982 ) in their analysis of British racialpolitics in the 1970s. As Paul Giroy noted in the book’s concluding chapter, ‘Steppin’ out of Babylon – race class and autonomy’, they were writing at a time of populist, right-wing resurgence, economic downturn and structural unemployment (Gilroy 1982 : 275–276). At the close of the second decade of the twenty-first century we are at another such historical
up and developed by Frantz Fanon ( 1968 ).
In another sense, the hypocrisy of Hegel's position
can be seen to continue today not simply at a level of global racialpolitics, but in the ideological non-recognition of particular
states, political formations and forms of life. We can think of how
in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries the dominant, global
hegemonic power, the