Performative Aesthetics

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
Learning objectives
This course aims to provide students with an in-depth historical and critical-theoretical investigation of the main issues within aesthetics, with a special focus on performance. The proposed path will address the fundamental questions and authors of this disciplinary field, while also taking into consideration its interdisciplinary connections with other domains such as: the history of theater, the history of literature, the art history, media history and theory, psychology, anthropology, and cognitive science, in order to deepen the philosophical education of the BA students.
The students will be able to critically analyze and employ the acquired notions particularly in the professional areas of secondary school teacher, professional in the field of education and popularization, editor-in-chief of texts and images, and coordinator of cultural projects in the public and private domain.
Expected learning outcomes
Knowledge and understanding:
Students will acquire an in-depth knowledge and critical awareness of the main theories and issues addressed within aesthetics. Notions as agency, performance and embodiment will be addressed. Along the way, students will be called on to critically compare the fundamental authors and concepts of this disciplinary field, and to develop an understanding of its methods and specialized terminology.

Ability to apply knowledge and understanding
Students will acquire the skills necessary to apply the conceptual frameworks of the major aesthetic theories to situations pertaining to aesthesiology, visual and performance studies, and performative practices, through recourse to an adequate specialized lexicon. They will be able to critically discuss the main theoretical models (of both the continental and analytic traditions) and the corresponding literature. Students will be able to securely navigate interdisciplinary study environments. They will be encouraged to propose original and stand-alone solutions to problems arising from the joint discussion.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First semester
The teaching method is already calibrated and structured according to the current emergency situation, and the necessary changes to the mode of delivery of the course in the event of further restrictions in-person teaching in the classroom have already established (see below).

Any other change due to COVID-10 pandemic management policies will be communicated on the professor's Ariel page.
Course syllabus
The Intelligence of the Body

The course aims to investigate the notion of performance in contemporary philosophical debate and in performance studies. It will address the nexus between cognition, action, and artifact, with particular emphasis placed on the notions of agency, embodiment, and dispositif. The guiding question of the course is how the interaction between individual and environment partakes in the process of subjectivation.

Between the second half of October and November 1st, in the second Wednesday time slot, the course will host:
-Professor Barbara Grespi, who will give a lecture on "Eisenstein and the Mise en Geste: Bodily Expression and Filmic Idea"
-Dr. Nicole Miglio will give two lectures on "The Staging of Pregnancy: Fake Bellies, Hysterical Pregnancies, and Maternal Imagination" and "Is Childbirth a Performance?"
The dates will be announced as they become available.
Prerequisites for admission
A basic knowledge of the history of philosophy and some familiarity with the world of the visual and performing arts (dance and theater) is required.
Additional and optional readings will be provided at the students' request to assist in the understanding of the issues covered.
Teaching methods
Given the current health emergency, the course will take place as follows:
-Wednesday: 4 consecutive in-person academic hours, according to the protocols set by the university, i.e. with classroom occupancy at 50% of its full capacity.
To lighten the arrival flow, using academic quarter-hours, the schedule will be as follows:
9:15-10:45 and 11:00-12:30. The remaining quarter hour will serve as a short break.
-Monday: 2 asynchronous hours, with audio material accompanied by slides saved as .pptx and uploaded to the Ariel platform for a limited time.

In the event that policies preventing in-person teaching go into effect, the course will continue to be taught with the 4 in-person hours replaced by 2 synchronous hours on Microsoft team and 2 asynchronous hours using audio material accompanied by slides saved as .pptx and uploaded to the Ariel platform for a limited time.

The in-person hours are also intended for "learning through discussion" and "practical learning." For that reason, at the beginning of the course, as soon as the number of students attending is clear, we will set up a timetable that provides for the in-person presentation of group work for a maximum of 10 lectures (20 academic hours). Student classroom presentations are optional and will be discussed with the professor, who will coordinate and assist with them. They may touch on texts and/or performances for which video documentation is available. To prepare, students will be able to use platforms such as Answergarden and Microsoft team to work together remotely, in addition to other platforms of their choice.

The asynchronous hours are intended for in-depth commentary on part of the assigned bibliography—i.e. Karen Barad, Nature's Queer Performativity [Performatività della natura. Quanto e queer. ETS 2017], and any supporting texts.

Students are considered attending if they have attended 2/3 of the course.

Any other change due to COVID-10 pandemic management policies will be communicated on the professor's Ariel page.
Teaching Resources
Tzachi Zamir, Puppets, Critical Inquiry, Vol. 36, No. 3 (Spring 2010), pp. 386-409 (totale pp. 23) (available on line).
Tim Ingold, Making. Antropologia, archeologia e architettura. Tr. it. Cortina, Milano 2019, pp. 262.
Erika Fisher-Lichte, Estetica del performativo. Una teoria del teatro e dell'arte. Tr. it. Carocci, Roma 2014, pp. 376.
Karen Barad, Performatività della natura. Quanto e queer. ETS 2017, pp. 168.

All volumes can be read in their original language.

For non attending students, Alfred Gell, Art and Agency. An anthropological theory, Clarendon Press, Oxford 1998.
Assessment methods and Criteria
For attending students, the oral exam consists of an interview on the topics presented in the lectures and questions aimed at assessing the student's knowledge and understanding of the various texts assigned. The interview will be conducted in part by the professor and in part by subject-matter specialists who make up the exam committee. For non-attending students, questions on the course will be substituted by questions on the additional texts assigned to them.

Evaluation criteria:
-Level of knowledge of theory (exposition);
-Ability to exemplify the concepts (understanding);
-Use of independent judgment in the gathering and interpretation of useful elements for an increasingly in-depth study of the questions dealt with during the course (development);
-Communication skills: adequate use of jargon to demonstrate acquired skills and express relevant issues.

Students who have submitted in-depth work during in-person hours will bring to the exam a shorter bibliography, to be specified on a case-by-case basis, in accordance with the topic chosen for the classroom presentation.

Exams will be held in person or remotely on Microsoft team, in accordance with university guidelines.
Unita' didattica A
M-FIL/04 - AESTHETICS - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Unita' didattica B
M-FIL/04 - AESTHETICS - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Unita' didattica C
M-FIL/04 - AESTHETICS - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Educational website(s)