Ugliness and the Exotic

Module Leader:
Andrea Hübner
2019-2020 Autumn
Arts and Humanities

The course will investigate aspects of how and why something or somebody could be considered ugly. Is it because it is frightening? Is it also marvellous? Is the unknown frightening or marvellous, or both? What do we mean by the exotic? The course will investigate who and in what way used to be regarded ugly for the European mind in the movement of the East-West encounter. Through the investigation of how in terms of aesthetics inside and outside enemies were depicted in distorted bodies we’ll get a closer look into witchcraft, heresy and monstrosity – questions unavoidable in understanding contemporary issues such as racism.

’Attributions of beauty or ugliness are often due not to aesthetic but socio-political criteria’ Umberto Eco claims.

Many aspects will be examined against contemporary phenomena like commercials or memes to see how our multicultural world is rooted in tradition.

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