Body Aesthetics, Hardback Book

Body Aesthetics Hardback

Edited by Sherri (University of Oklahoma) Irvin


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The body is a rich object for aesthetic inquiry. We aesthetically assess both our own bodies and those of others, and our felt bodily experiences-as we eat, have sex, and engage in other everyday activities-have aesthetic qualities.

The body, whether depicted or actively performing, features centrally in aesthetic experiences of visual art, theatre, dance and sports.

Body aesthetics can be a source of delight for both the subject and the object of the gaze.

But aesthetic consideration of bodies also raises acute ethical questions: the body is deeply intertwined with one's identity and sense of self, and aesthetic assessment of bodies can perpetuate oppression based on race, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, size, and disability.

Artistic and media representations shape how we see and engage with bodies, with consequences both personal and political. This volume contains sixteen original essays by contributors in philosophy, sociology, dance, disability theory, critical race studies, feminist theory, medicine, and law.

Contributors take on bodily beauty, sexual attractiveness, the role of images in power relations, the distinct aesthetics of disabled bodies, the construction of national identity, the creation of compassion through bodily presence, the role of bodily style in moral comportment, and the somatic aesthetics of racialized policeviolence.