Yale University School of Art
1156 Chapel Street, POB 208339
New Haven, Connecticut, 06520-8339
(203) 432-2600

FILM/VIDEO/INTERDISCIPLINARY Art 008, The Gothic, the Grotesque, and Other Dark Aesthetics

From the gothic to the grotesque, from what Freud called the uncanny to what Julia Kristeva named the abject, there are works of art and ways of looking at the world that cause us to rethink our neat philosophical dichotomies of beauty and ugliness, rapture and terror, attraction and repulsion. Using analytical approaches drawn from philosophy, critical theory, and popular culture, we explore the darker corners of aesthetics, art history, and the visual landscape. In the process, we turn a critical eye on our definitions of good taste and bad, beauty and ugliness, cuteness and creepiness. We investigate the historical roots and philosophical assumptions behind aesthetic categories whose influence is alive and well in both the art world and pop culture, such as the gothic, the grotesque, the decadent, camp, kitsch, and the sublime. In doing so, we consider the roles played by gender, race, class, and power in shaping such concepts and sensibilities, whose influence on how we think about the aesthetic realm and visual experience—our ways of seeing—is profound. Enrollment limited to fifteen freshmen. Preregistration required through the Freshman Seminar Program.

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