Transformative Aesthetics: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Transformative Aesthetics

1st Edition

By Erika Fischer-Lichte, Benjamin Wihstutz


232 pages

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Hardback: 9781138057173
pub: 2017-07-27
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315164991
pub: 2017-07-31
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Aesthetic theory in the West has, until now, been dominated by ideas of effect, autonomy, and reception. Transformative Aesthetics uncovers these theories’ mutual concern with the transformation of those involved.

From artists to spectators, readers, listeners, or audiences, the idea of transformation is one familiar to cultures across the globe. Transformation of the individual is only one part of this aesthetic phenomenon, as contemporary artists are increasingly called upon to have a transformative, sustainable impact on society at large. To this end, Erika Fischer Lichte and Benjamin Wihstutz present a series of fresh perspectives on the discussion of aesthetics, uniting Western theory with that of India, China, Australia, and beyond.

Each chapter of Transformative Aesthetics focuses on a different approach to transformation, from the foundations of aesthetics to contemporary theories, breaking new ground to establish a network of thought that spans theatre, performance, art history, cultural studies, and philosophy.

Table of Contents

List of Figures


Introduction: Transformative Aesthetics—Reflections on the Metamorphic Power of Art

Erika Fischer-Lichte

1 Aristotle’s theory of Katharsis in its Historical and Social Contexts

Edith Hall

2 The Taste of Art and Transcendence: Transformation(s) in Rasa and Bhakti Aesthetics

Guillermo Rodriguez

3 Metamorphosis in the Picture

Bernhard Waldenfels

4 Somaesthetics and Self-Cultivation in Chinese Art

Richard Shusterman

5 Schiller’s Transformative Aesthetics

Benjamin Wihstutz

6 Clairvoyance and Transformation: Wagner’s Neuroaesthetics

Matthew Wilson Smith

7 The Invisible Vanguard: Reflections on Political Movements and Contemporary AvantGarde Formations

James Harding

8 Applied Theatre: Theatre for Change

Matthias Warstat

9 Transformative Resistance and Aesthetics

Bill Ashcroft

10 The Art of not Relating with one Another—Notes on Some Issues and Potentials of Relational Art

Sandra Umathum



About the Authors

Erika FISCHER-LICHTE is professor of Theatre Studies at Free University Berlin. She is past president of the International Federation for Theatre Research, and holds the chair of the Institute for Advanced Studies on "Interweaving Cultures in Performance".

Benjamin WIHSTUTZ is assistant professor of Theatre Studies at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, and a research fellow for eight years at the Interdisciplinary Research Center "Aesthetic Experience and the Dissolution of Artistic Limits".

About the Series

Routledge Advances in Theatre & Performance Studies

This series is our home for cutting-edge, upper-level scholarly studies and edited collections. Considering theatre and performance alongside topics such as religion, politics, gender, race, ecology, and the avant-garde, titles are characterized by dynamic interventions into established subjects and innovative studies on emerging topics.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PERFORMING ARTS / Theater / General
PERFORMING ARTS / Theater / History & Criticism
PHILOSOPHY / Aesthetics