About Bloomsbury Contemporary Aesthetics

Discover New Ways of Thinking about Art and the Everyday

"Bloomsbury Contemporary Aesthetics offers students and researchers an engaging entry into robust scholarship and innovative thinking in contemporary aesthetics. This user-friendly resource should have a place in academic libraries"— Library Journal, 2023

Designed for undergraduates, postgraduates, faculty, and scholars in philosophy, literature, and visual arts, Bloomsbury Contemporary Aesthetics features primary texts, exclusive case studies, a bank of images, a digital-only reference work, Aesthetics and Politics in the Global South, as well as monographs, study aids, and edited collections covering aesthetics across the humanities.

Conversations in Contemporary Aesthetics: Philosophers in a Live Discussion

Are Taylor Swift’s re-recorded albums distinct works of art? Can I have an aesthetic experience of an itch? Watch philosophers discuss their case studies tackling these questions and more in lively and accessible ways.

Explore the Bloomsbury Contemporary Aesthetics author webinar

About the Content

Chiapas tote bag

Case Studies

This is a growing collection of case studies exclusively commissioned for Bloomsbury Contemporary Aesthetics. Each centers around a single artwork, everyday item, or experience. The 39 authors write about painting, sculpture, films, art installations, nature, food, theatre, novels, itches, manhole covers, and beards. They cover a vast array of objects and offer alternate ways of interpreting art, creativity, and beauty. These are entertaining, illustrated one-of-a-kind introductions to core aesthetic questions about taste, judgement, and the definition of art.

General Editor: Darren Hudson Hick, Furman University, USA

Click here to read the General Editor’s introduction and explore the cases by theme

Click here to view this collection of case study articles, or scroll below to read about the contributors to this series.

Nelson's Ship in a Bottle (artwork by Yinka Shonibare)

Aesthetics and Politics in the Global South

An essential set of critical readings for understanding the global roots, context, and counterparts of traditional aesthetic theories. It brings together selections from 47 aesthetic and political texts across South East Asia, South Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, and Latin America in the 20th century. Authors include ground-breaking thinkers, utopianists, and revolutionaries including Rabindranath Tagore, Lu Xun, C.L.R. James, Suzanne Césaire, Claudia Jones, Albert Wendt, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Édouard Glissant.

The collection continues to grow with specially commissioned introductions providing context to the individual texts.

Aimed at students and scholars in philosophy, literary studies, and politics looking to decolonize the aesthetic tradition and expand their knowledge of aesthetics beyond Europe.

Edited by: J. Daniel Elam, The University of Hong Kong

Click here to view this collection of critical and primary sources

Click here to read the General Editor’s introduction

Book cover image for Aesthetics: Problems in the Philosophy of Criticism

Primary Texts and Scholarly Monographs

The curated selection of over 100 eBooks cover aesthetics across the humanities, ranging from study guides and teaching aids to research texts and edited collections. Titles include Introducing Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art (Second Edition) and series such as Bloomsbury Aesthetics, Contemporary Aesthetics and Art, Contemporary Thinkers Reframed, and Radical Aesthetics-Radical Art.

In partnership with Broadview Press, Hackett, Princeton University Press, and Yale University Press, the Primary Texts include influential works in philosophical aesthetics by authors such as Mieke Bal, Monroe Beardsley, Nelson Goodman, Jean-Marie Schaeffer, and Francis Edward Sparshott.
Click here to view the Primary Texts collection

Okesa II (artwork by Norman Akers and heather ahtone, 2010)

Image Gallery and Video Case Studies

A collection of 295 images has been carefully selected by a team of philosophers who have identified visuals that can be used to spark class discussions or form the basis of a research paper. Images address issues such as the nature of aesthetic judgement, the status of art, and the place of arts within society.
Click here to view the image gallery

Videos have been created around case studies to provide closer analysis of detail in the objects. Click here to watch the first set of videos accompanying ‘Okesa II: A Case Study in Indigenous Aesthetics as a non-Western Paradigm’ and ‘Katharina Grosse, It Wasn’t Us’.

Click here for a guide to Reading Transcultural Aesthetics through Images by Paul Gladston, Judith Neilson Chair Professor of Contemporary Art, University of New South Wales, Sydney