In defence of an aesthetic understanding

13 Jun 2014 - 11:30

Professor Carrol Clarkson's inaugural lecture entitled: 'Drawing the Line' took place on 21 May. This is the first of several inaugural lectures by Humanities colleagues in 2014. Story by Yusuf Omar.

Aesthetics has to do with knowledge acquired through the senses, and careful attention to what is available within a field of sensory perception gives us an indication of how a society perceives itself. So: what can be seen and heard? Who has a voice? What makes headline news? What is censored?

Answers to questions like these help us to understand better how a society delineates itself. Changing the field of perception may be one way of encouraging a different appreciation of what counts and of what matters — and hence of opening up the possibility of imagining a more just society.

Speaking at her inaugural lecture on 21 May, titled Drawing the Line, literature and theory expert Professor Carrol Clarkson argued that aesthetic discourses are just as important as legal and "rational" discourses – especially when it comes to matters of social justice. She also subtly demonstrated her argument that the way we speak and think about ourselves has profound implications for how we behave and the decisions we make. Read the full article here....

Article courtesy UCT Monday Monthly. Image by Raymond Botha