Critical Inquiry 48 (1):144-166 (2021)

Jakub Stejskal
Masaryk University
The article’s aim is to clear the ground for the idea of aesthetic archaeology as an aesthetic analysis of remote artifacts divorced from aesthetic criticism. On the example of controversies surrounding the early Cycladic figures, it discusses an anxiety motivating the rejection of aesthetic inquiry in archaeology, namely, the anxiety about the heuristic reliability of one’s aesthetic instincts vis-à-vis remote artifacts. It introduces the claim that establishing an aesthetic mandate of a remote artifact should in the first place be part of a quest after the norms of engagement an artifact’s kind signaled to the intended audience by its appearance. Rather than advocating for a new subdiscipline, the concept of aesthetic archaeology serves to bring into theoretical focus an aesthetic engagement with an artifact’s appearance under circumstances that rule out any acquired competence in distinguishing its aesthetic mandate perceptually—and thus rule out any aesthetic expertise.
Keywords archaeology  prehistoric art  post-formalism
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Reprint years 2021
DOI 10.1086/715981
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References found in this work BETA

Aesthetic Rationality.Keren Gorodeisky & Eric Marcus - 2018 - Journal of Philosophy 115 (3):113-140.
The Uses of Aesthetic Testimony.C. Thi Nguyen - 2017 - British Journal of Aesthetics 57 (1):19-36.
Against Aesthetic Judgments.Bence Nanay - 2018 - In Jennifer A. McMahon (ed.), Social Aesthetics and Moral Judgment. London: Routledge.
Towards a Reductive Theory of Visual Style.George Kubler - 1979 - In Leonard B. Meyer & Berel Lang (eds.), The Concept of Style. University of Pennsylvania Press. pp. 119--127.

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