During the classical period, aesthetics was an inward-facing field, not concerned with the socioeconomic reality of everyday life. However, art has always flourished across societies as a direct product of the very realities of caste, class, and gender that aesthetics long ignored. As a result, aesthetics as a keyword in the humanities stands at a crossroads today. Eschewing definitions, this volume attempts to explore what aesthetics can be, to deploy the dissipation of classical aesthetics into a reconstituted toolkit of critical terms—anger, shock, beauty, form, praxis, affect. The authors signal that aesthetics is to be treated less as a body of knowledge and more as an approach or a method that is both ahistorical and comparatist.
V.S. Sreenath is Assistant Professor, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IISER Bhopal.
Anandita Pan is Assistant Professor, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IISER Bhopal.
Punnya Rajendran is Assistant Professor, Department of English Studies, Central University of Tamil Nadu.
Section One: The Cultural Turn Within Classical Aesthetics
1. The Social Aesthetic and Sanskrit Literary Theory / Sheldon Pollock
2. What is New and What is Navya: Sanskrit Poetics on the Eve of Colonialism / Yigal Bronner
3. Tamil Sangam Poetry: The Plebeian in the Classical Tradition / Mini Chandran
4. What To Do with the Past? Sanskrit Literary Criticism in the Postcolonial Space / V.S. Sreenath
Section Two: Beyond Classicism: Contemporary Aesthetics as Method
5. Critique of Popular Culture / Partha Chatterjee
6. On Mumbai Police and Drishyam: Reading Desire into Two New Wave Crime Thrillers in Malayalam / Jenson Joseph
7. Of Pain and Other Tragic Emotions: A Study of Divinity in the Folktales from Karisial Kadu / Swathi Sudhakaran and Milind Brahme
8. From Dialectics to Dialects: A Reading of O.V. Vijayan’s Legends of Khasak / E.V. Ramakrishnan
Section Three: The Scattered Present of Aesthetics
9. The Critical Scene: Towards an Alternative Aesthetics? / K. Satchidanandan
10. Labour, Service, Performance: Towards a Global Shudrafication of Aesthetics and Politics / Soumyabrata Choudhury
11. Caste and/in Literary Imagination: A Critique of Brahmanical Aestheticism / Anandita Pan
12. Aesthetics and Methodology in English Studies: A Fragmented History / Punnya Rajendran
About the Contributors