CFP: Aesthetic Literacy: a book for everyone

Submission deadline: May 31, 2020

Topic areas


Authors who care about philosophical aesthetics and education are invited to submit short, critical and creative pieces for a book project called Aesthetic Literacy: a book for everyone. This initiative is a practical experiment in philosophy of culture.

April update: the collection will feature work by at least thirty professors, as well as artists (including iNO), and scholars from all around the world.

The idea for this book stems from two facts. Firstly, as an academic discipline, aesthetics is in full bloom. Aesthetics now shines a spotlight on both significant and everyday philosophical matters. The scope of aesthetic inquiry is infinite, its contents as diverse as life itself. Secondly, however, aesthetics' impact on culture is negligible because the discourse is predominantly enjoyed among professionals in the ivory tower. The significance of aesthetics to the conception of a life worth living is yet to be recognised by the wider public.

Aesthetic literacy is for everyone. The goal is to create a book one could appreciate in a park, at a desk, at home, before going to bed, in solitude, with a friend or a partner, an adolescent or a senior.

At the moment, to learn about the lessons in aesthetics, the non-academic reader has to read scholarly literature, much of which is either too expensive to access or too professional to make sense of.

This book aims to bridge the gap by presenting scholarly findings in ways that can be appreciated by anyone interested in the discipline. In addition, the book will strive to accommodate both analytic and continental approaches to doing philosophy.

As such, the book will present a collection of brief stimulating entries, authored by experts in aesthetics, philosophy of art, anthropology, and art history. Collaborations are welcome.
Each entry will address a topic in aesthetics in a concise, responsible and creative fashion.
Each author is encouraged to experiment with a writing style, so as to find a balance between scholarly rigour and their inner Montaigne, so to speak. Philosophical insights can be communicated in a dialogue, an aphorism, a short story, an academic paper, a piece of poetry or journalism, a syllogism, a personal reflection, or a recollection etc.
10-1000 word long entries are welcome, accompanied with a short bibliography and, if necessary, an illustration. Authors are encouraged to use their own illustrations of philosophical ideas. All artwork subject to copyright will be the author's responsibility to clear.

The entries will be spread across the volume based on thematic congruity.
The book will cover:
i) core topics, e.g. beauty, nature, humanity, the cosmos, ugliness, arts and crafts, aesthetic responses and attitudes
ii) intersections with other fields, such as ethics, literature, theatre, photography, film, science and politics
iii) emerging topics, e.g. everyday aesthetics, environmental aesthetics, somaesthetics, relational aesthetics, food aesthetics.
iv) marginalised topics in aesthetics, e.g. Aboriginal art, street art, erotic experience, aesthetics of dead cultures, and cross-cultural aesthetics.
*Each sub-field forks into a multitude of related topics.

The reader will be able to learn from the text by following the standard sequential order; this will allow them to appreciate the unfolding of aesthetics as a vast philosophical discipline, covering an extended history and holding progressive cultural potential.
However, another way to engage with the contents will be suggested: namely, by hopping (in the manner of Cortazar’s Hopscotch) from one page to another, seemingly at random, so as to explore connections, affinities and contrasts between topics. This approach will enable the reader to appreciate the aesthetic as an integral part of a meaningful life, and mirrors the curiously connected manner of life.

In essence, this book will channel scholarly rigour into a more inclusive and creative format, as a means of fostering considerate aesthetic education.

The book must be freely available to everyone, and hence the editor is not interested in a contract with a major publishing house. 

Submission process is two-fold, and has been extended due to the pandemic. Please email me your proposals by April 29 '20 on:
If approved, the final submission is due on May 31 '20. Extensions of course will be granted!

Should you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Kind regards,
Dr Valery Vinogradovs

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