ASA12: Arts and aesthetics in a globalising world

3rd-6th April 2012, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India


This conference will investigate art and aesthetics in their widest senses and experiences, from a variety of perspectives and in numerous contexts: the material arts, crafts, performance, bodies, digital and new media, metaphysics, and other related themes. Moving beyond art as expressions of the inner mind and inventions of the individual self, the conference will bridge the gap between changing perceptions of contemporary art and aesthetics, and map the impact of globalisation on the creation and movement of artworks, people's changing perceptions of the medium, the shifting skills of artists, the relationship between the arts and declining ecological factors, art and new religions, and so forth.

A globalised ethic presumes that ‘we’ are all connected to one another, but more often than not, the ‘we’ comprises the fraternity of the elite in any country. The conference tries to move away from debates centred around the concerns of powerful elites and to engage in more diverse conversations with vernacular practices. This is particularly significant given the ‘aesthetic turn’ in sociology and political science specifically and in social science and humanities in general, after Jacques Ranciere’s Politics of Aesthetics (2004). 

How one defines art, who has the authority to define it as such and what might be excluded from such definitions are, of course, all open to debate, while aesthetics might also be explored more broadly not only as applying to concrete objects, but also to processes of production and contexts of meaning, performance and (re)interpretation. 

The 2012 conference takes place at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in Delhi. In most nations in which state patronage of the arts and crafts has been paramount or in a state of crisis, it is also argued, in popular discourse, that for the crafts to survive, local communities must be supported in relation to their environment. Ecological conservation must go hand in hand with providing support to communities and ‘techne’ (the latter term meaning work and knowledge as they are combined). The narratives of globalisation fruitfully interlock, then, with arts and crafts elsewhere in the world. Local communities, through tourism, global markets, new forms of technological assimilation and interaction are brought in touch with the outside world.

But this is not the only narrative. There are many others, for which conference participants are invited to propose and discuss. We encourage participants to consider, in relations to arts and aesthetics - however defined - areas such as:

  • Politics
  • Colonial, neo-colonial and post-colonial contexts
  • Theoretical debates
  • Nationalism
  • Citizenship
  • Senses/affect
  • Conflict
  • Ownership of discourses and identity
  • Cosmopolitanism
  • People and things
  • Social movements, minorities and inequality
  • Religion
  • Media
  • Modernisation
  • Ecology
  • Science and arts
  • Popular visual culture
  • Global visuality