The End of Aesthetic History; or, The Weirdness of the Twentieth Century
Eric Hayot, Distinguished Professor of Comparative Literature and Asian Studies, Penn State University
December 1, 4:30, BH A53, Steinberg Auditorium
“My argument is going to be that the disciplines that analyze aesthetic culture had their ideas shaped in a very unusual historical crucible. I will contend the closure of that crucible—which in the version of the story I’m telling is already forty years old—has not been adequately accounted for in either our intellectual work or our disciplinary formations. This lack of accounting means not only that our disciplines have held on to forms of thinking and institutional existence that are anachronistic—which is at some level fine; there’s nothing wrong with anachronism, as long as one’s doing it on purpose—but also bad, bad because they generate false or distorted analysis of the aesthetic history of the contemporary period, as well as, for that matter, of all the periods that preceded the modernist era.”.
Professor Hayot is also the director of Penn State’s Center for Humanities and Information. His books include Chinese Dreams (Michigan, 2004), The Hypothetical Mandarin: Sympathy, Modernity, and Chinese Pain (Oxford, 2009), On Literary Worlds (2012) The Elements of Academic Style: Writing for the Humanities (2014), and Humanist Reason: A History. An Argument. A Plan (2021). He also writes occasionally for Public Books, the LA Review of Books, and the Times Literary Supplement.
Seminar with Professor Hayot
12:00-1:15, December 2, 2022, BH 254Q
Reading from his new book Humanist Reason:
"Articles of Reason: How Humanists Really (Ought To?) Think" [PDF]
Lunch provided. Registration required.