Border Trafficking in the Aesthetics: Rethinking Methodologies, Rethinking Legitimacy

Graduate School, Arts at Aarhus University

Border Trafficking in the Aesthetics: Rethinking Methodologies, Rethinking Legitimacy

At the same time as the study of the arts have been expanding their dialogue with disciplines not strictly humanistic – law, political science, medicine, natural sciences, digital statistics, technology – it has been struggling to legitimize itself, as neoliberal politics demand university disciplines to make their social usefulness explicit. To a certain extent, these two movements are interrelated – through interdisciplinarity, we seek new ways of understanding the arts, but we also seek to legitimize ourselves through our dialogue with disciplines, whose societal value is more generally accepted.

In this course we will explore the consequences of this dual movement, especially how it influences the practice of academic research. Are the research methods of the humanities, not least those relating to the arts, seriously transformed through interdisciplinary dialogue, or do we retain a basic repertoire of methods – do we retain an identity as a specific academic discipline? What kind of practical challenges does the meeting between aesthetics and the non-humanistic sciences entail? Does the demand for a legitimization of the study of the arts remain an affair relating only to public surface of those sciences, or does it affect their modus operandi?

Confirmed speakers: 

- Professor Charlotte Klonk, Institute of Art and Image History, Humboldt University, Berlin

- Professor Frederik Stjernfelt, Department of Arts and Cultural Studies, University of Copenhagen

- Professor Esther Leslie, Department of English and Humanities, Birkbeck, University of London

- Lecturer Mark Fisher, Department of Visual Cultures, Goldsmiths, University of London

Target group:

PhD students.




5.5 (a paper presentation is mandatory).


Deadline for registration and hand-in of abstract is 4 March 2015.

1) Please register via

2) Send project title and title + abstract for a 20-minute presentation to Marianne Hoffmeister,

For questions on course content please contact the organisers:

Jacob Wamberg,

Frederik Tygstrup,