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Aesthetics as Epistemic Practice in Premodern Cultures

24.06.2021 - 26.06.2021

Jahrestagung des Sonderforschungsbereichs 980 „Episteme in Bewegung. Wissenstransfer von der Alten Welt bis in die Frühe Neuzeit“


The transfer of knowledge is always bound to material objects or practices of representation. The upcoming annual conference of the research center investigates aesthetic procedures involved in generating knowledge from a transcultural perspective, including artifacts from both premodern European as well as non-European cultures. To what extent can aesthetic practices be qualified as practices that constitute knowledge? How do specific cultural and temporal contexts mark aesthetic phenomena? What role do religious backgrounds, ritual practices or craftsmanship play? How do they shape concepts or notions?

The notion of ‘aesthetics’ is explicitly not to be reduced to a theory of beauty, to categories of art or to conceptualizations of the sublime. Rather, we understand ‘aesthetics’ as an open concept that allows for a transcultural investigation of a spectrum of practices regarding sensorial experiences, forms of perception and the affective potential of formation, as well as sensorial ways of comprehension. Talking about ‘premodern aesthetics’, we intendedly include reflections implicitly made with and through objects, their materiality, or practices. In which contexts do they take effect and how can they be described? In paying specific attention to the material and medial conditions of aesthetic practices, to objects and perceptions, we aim to investigate the relevance of aesthetic dimensions in premodern cultures of knowledge.


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The digital conference is hosted at the CRC-Villa in Dahlem by the Freie Universität Berlin. For the access link and translation services, please use the registration form.