•  2875
    Kitsch Against Modernity
    Art Criticism 13 (1): 53-80. 1998.
    "The writer discusses the concept of kitsch. Having reviewed a variety of approaches to kitsch, he posits an historical conception of it, connecting it to modernity and defining it as a coping-mechanism for modernity. He thus suggests that kitsch is best understood as a tool in the struggle against the particular stresses of the modern world and that it uses materials at hand, fashioning from them some sort of stability largely through projecting images of nature, stasis, and continuity. He disc…Read more
  •  326
    9/11 as Schmaltz-Attractor: A Coda on the Significance of Kitsch
    In Monica Kjellman-Chapin (ed.), Kitsch: History, Theory, Practice, Cambridge Scholars Press. pp. 184-224. 2013.
    "The concluding chapter, penned by C. E. Emmer, both revisits and greatly expands upon disputations within the contested territory of kitsch as term and tool in cultural turf-war arsenals. Focusing on debates surrounding two visual responses to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, Dennis Madalone's 2003 music video for the patriotic anthem 'America We Stand As One' and Jenny Ryan's 'plushie' sculpture, 'Soft 9/11,' Emmer utilizes these debates to reveal the coexisting and competing attit…Read more
  •  206
    The Flower and the Breaking Wheel: Burkean Beauty and Political Kitsch
    International Journal of the Arts in Society 2 (1): 153-164. 2007.
    What is kitsch? The varieties of phenomena which can fall under the name are bewildering. Here, I focus on what has been called “traditional kitsch,” and argue that it often turns on the emotional effect specifically captured by Edmund Burke’s concept of “beauty” from his 1757 'A Philosophical Enquiry into the Sublime and Beautiful.' Burkean beauty also serves to distinguish “traditional kitsch” from other phenomena also often called “kitsch”—namely, entertainment. Although I argue that Burkean …Read more
  •  155
    Crowther and the Kantian Sublime in Art
    In Valerio Rohden, Ricardo R. Terra & Guido A. de Almeida (eds.), Recht und Frieden in der Philosophie Kants, Akten des X. Internationalen Kant-Kongresses, Walter De Gruyter. 2008.
    Paul Crowther, in his book, The Kantian Sublime (1989), works to reconstruct Kant's aesthetics in order to make its continued relevance to contemporary aesthetic concerns more visible. The present article remains within the area of Crowther's "cognitive" sublime, to show that there is much space for expanding upon Kantian varieties of the sublime, particularly in art.
  •  134
    My observations here are meant to address a current lacuna in discussions of Kant's aesthetics, namely the beauty of poetry. There are, I admit, numerous treatments of poetry considered in the light of Kant's aesthetic theory, but what may not be noticed is that in discussions of poetry and Kant's aesthetics, the topic of poetic beauty only rarely comes up. This virtual silence on the beauty of poetry is surprising, given that the beautiful is obviously one of the two foundational aesthetic cate…Read more
  •  94
    Representing Place: Landscape Painting and Maps (review)
    Review of Metaphysics 57 (3): 610-612. 2004.
    The book has three main parts. Part 1, “Painting the Land”, opens by considering the emergence of landscape painting in the West from decorative pictures and then displays the possibilities for the sublime which were opened up when landscape painting per se had finally emerged. The painters who receive the most detailed discussion are Fitz Hugh Lane, Thomas Cole, and John Constable. Casey notes that the recent appearance of landscape painting in Western culture is a local phenomenon, and accordi…Read more
  •  85
    Kantian Beauty, Fractals, and Universal Community
    Dialogue and Universalism 29 (2): 65-80. 2019.
    Benoit B. Mandelbrot, when discussing the global appeal of fractal patterns and designs, draws upon examples from across numerous world cultures. What may be missed in Mandelbrot's presentation is Immanuel Kant’s precedence in recognizing this sort of widespread beauty in art and nature, fractals avant la lettre. More importantly, the idea of the fractal may itself assist the aesthetic attitude which Kantian beauty requires. In addition, from a Kantian perspective, fractal patterns may offer a s…Read more
  •  84
    It might at first seem that the senses (the five traditionally recognized conduits of outer sense) would have very little to contribute to an investigation of Kant's aesthetics. Is not Kant's aesthetic theory based on a relation of the higher cognitive faculties? Much however can be revealed by asking to what degree sight is essential to aesthetic judgment (of beauty and the sublime) as Kant describes it in the 'Critique of Judgment.' Here the sublime receives particular attention.
  •  16
    Burkean Beauty in the Service of Violence
    Dialogue and Universalism 27 (3): 55-64. 2017.
    Examining the images of war displayed on front pages of the New York Times, David Shields makes the case that they ultimately glamorize military conflict. He anchors his case with an excerpt on the delight of the sublime from Edmund Burke’s aesthetic theory in A Philosophical Enquiry. By contrast, this essay considers violence and warfare using not the Burkean sublime, but instead the beautiful in Burke’s aesthetics, and argues that forming identities on the beautiful in the Burkean sense can ul…Read more
  •  4
    Possibilities for a Non-Ocular Aesthetics in Kant's "Critique of Judgment"
    Dissertation, State University of New York at Stony Brook. 2002.
    An initial consideration of Diderot's Letter on the Blind provides a heuristic device with which to examine Kant's aesthetic theory as presented in the Critique of Judgment for evidence of a privileging of sight and a corresponding proscription of touch. I argue that the exposition of his aesthetic theory---as opposed to the theory itself, i.e., that which stands on the principles he identifies---does indeed exhibit a certain oculocentrism, but that the theory itself does not allow him to privil…Read more