22/1 – Ugliness and the Exotic

Module Leader:
Mariia Semashyna
2022-2023 Summer
Arts and Humanities

Is ugliness something frightening, unwanted, or perhaps fascinating and marvellous? How does ugliness connect to the exotic? The aim of this module is to introduce students to the aesthetic and socio-political discourse on ugliness. The course will investigate who and in what ways used to be regarded ugly by the European authors in the movement of the East-West encounter throughout history. Through the discussion of how inside and outside enemies were depicted in terms of aesthetics, we will get a closer look into mystery, monstrosity, freakishness – questions unavoidable in understanding issues such as scapegoating, colonizing, and racism. Many aspects will be examined against contemporary visual culture to see how our multicultural world is rooted in tradition and employs various forms of othering.

Most of the course sessions will contain additional visual materials as optional readings/viewings. The students are invited, although not strictly required, to use these readings/viewings in their weekly reflections and class discussions.

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