NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ790169
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2001
Pages: 11
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0021-8510
Non-Western Aesthetics as a Colonial Invention
Blocker, H. Gene
Journal of Aesthetic Education, v35 n4 p3-13 Win 2001
As people seek to educate their children in a multicultural society to understand and appreciate and to be able to interact with a culturally diverse and ever-shrinking world, they need to ask themselves whether Western forms of knowledge are appropriate for understanding non-Western forms of culture; in particular, whether Western aesthetics is appropriate for understanding and appreciating non-Western art. Therefore, in this article, the author raises the question of non-Western aesthetics. Are there non-Western aesthetics and if so, what are they? The first thing one must realize in this undertaking is that the world does not come conveniently prepackaged into neat compartments of "Chinese aesthetics," "Indian aesthetics," "African aesthetics," "Polynesian aesthetics," "Native American aesthetics," and so on. The author contends that any discussion of non-Western aesthetics initiated from within Western aesthetics must be (and can only be) a cross-cultural comparison. "Aesthetics" is an English word (or some related European derivative of the Greek) to which non-Western culture is compared. If non-Western aesthetics is an invention and construction, then it is not so much a matter of fact whether there are or are not non-Western aesthetics as it is a pragmatic decision whether such a thing is desirable and worth constructing. One important use of the construction or invention of non-Western aesthetics is its value for art education in a multicultural society in a culturally diverse world. There is undoubtedly a value for art education in North America and beyond in the construction of non-Western aesthetics. (Contains 2 notes.)
University of Illinois Press. 1325 South Oak Street, Champaign, IL 61820-6903. Tel: 217-244-0626; Fax: 217-244-8082; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: North America