Aesthetics at Södertörn University is a new subject with a long history. The word ‘aesthetics’ originates in the Greek ‘aisthesis’, which approximates to ‘discernment’ or ‘perception from the senses’.

The modern subject of aesthetics has its roots in eighteenth century philosophy and the issue of the essence of art. Aesthetics at Södertörn University returns to the Greek concept of ‘aisthesis’. This means that aesthetics is a theory of the senses that investigates how people approach the world through their senses, either to gather knowledge about it or to enjoy and find pleasure in it. The subject also has a new relevance in the contemporary media, which is more filled with messages, information and sensory impressions than ever before.

Aesthetics, along with Art History, Comparative Literature, Gender Studies, Media and Communication Studies, Philosophy, and Studies in Practical Knowledge, is part of the research area called Critical and Cultural Theory, which offers doctoral studies.

Research in Aesthetics is focused on its historical conditions and conceptual development. It develops the central issues of Aesthetics, about mankind and the world, bodies and consciousness, ideas and objects and how these can be read in contemporary art. Completed research projects include The Insurmountable Art, Aisthesis; The Return of Sensibility, Translatability; Aesthetics and the transformation of the public sphere, one ongoing project is Perceptions of the other: aesthetics, ethics and prejudice.

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