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Art Theory, Aesthetics and Art Criticism programs?


surlefil

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Hi! I'm a Philosophy student and I'm interested in Aesthetics. I want to apply to a Ph.D. but as Aesthetics is not a huge area of study in Philosophy, I was thinking maybe in applying to a Ph.D. in Art History. The problem is I'm most interested in theory and art criticism, not so much in history. I saw some that looked interesting, but as I come from Argentina I don't really know how great they are, what is their reputation, etc., except for what rankings say, which can be not so trustworthy... These are the ones that looked good:

 

Princeton

Columbia

CUNY

Stony Brook

MIT

 

What do you think? Which Ph.D. programs would you recommend?

 

Thanks!

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For "Aesthetics" nestled under "Philosophy," you may wish to look to the United Kingdom! I googled "aesthetics phd uk" -- my first hit was a guide listing universities in a PDF.

 

From a glance at the "quick view" option of this document, I see that for each university there is a note on the orientation (whether the study is "analytic," "historical," and/or "continental"), as well as whether a PhD and/or MA is offered. Also, the faculty is listed... you may recognize a name or two, or more.

 

... hope this may help! 

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I don't know if you're looking for a more traditional analytical phil program to do "philosophy of art," or something more continental and expansive? If it is the latter, you might want to check out the PhD program in Philosophy at the New School in NYC. They're very strong in critical theory (in the proper sense of the word, i.e. Frankfurt school), aesthetics and ideology.

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I think that aesthetics is a very ripe field, both in philosophy and art history departments!! I'd definitely recommend looking into Jonathan Gilmore at Yale. He teaches in the Philosophy department and he works not just on aesthetics but on many areas in the philosophy of art more broadly. I'm fairly sure that as a grad student at Columbia he started in art history and was taking coursework in both fields before switching to philosophy for his phd (his dissertation was on the concept of style in art history). Also Karsten Harries at Yale works a lot on aestheitcs and intersections of art and philosophy (he is also in the philosophy dept). Columbia is of course well-known as a school where theory and criticism flourish, and from Arthur Danto on they have had people in the philosophy dept working on art history (and vice-versa). Princeton has a very strong Philosophy program, and people like Alexander nehamas are very interested in aesthetics. Chicago and Duke have strong interdisciplinary focuses in art history. I know of Darby English and WJT Mitchell at Chicago and Mark Antliff at duke in particular. I'd not rule out philosophy PhDs just yet!! You can still take coursework in art history! Good luck!

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For "Aesthetics" nestled under "Philosophy," you may wish to look to the United Kingdom! I googled "aesthetics phd uk" -- my first hit was a guide listing universities in a PDF.

 

From a glance at the "quick view" option of this document, I see that for each university there is a note on the orientation (whether the study is "analytic," "historical," and/or "continental"), as well as whether a PhD and/or MA is offered. Also, the faculty is listed... you may recognize a name or two, or more.

 

... hope this may help! 

Yes, I've seen the aesthetics-online website. Thank you! I wondered if you knew in the area of Art History more theory based programs.

 

I don't know if you're looking for a more traditional analytical phil program to do "philosophy of art," or something more continental and expansive? If it is the latter, you might want to check out the PhD program in Philosophy at the New School in NYC. They're very strong in critical theory (in the proper sense of the word, i.e. Frankfurt school), aesthetics and ideology.

Thank you. I'm definitely looking for continental programs, though I'm not interested in doing my research on any author or school in the history of Philosophy, which is something quite common in continental philosophy. I've seen New School and I loved it, but then I found out they aren't so nice when giving financial aid, only a few students get it, and I would need stipend and all...

 

I think that aesthetics is a very ripe field, both in philosophy and art history departments!! I'd definitely recommend looking into Jonathan Gilmore at Yale. He teaches in the Philosophy department and he works not just on aesthetics but on many areas in the philosophy of art more broadly. I'm fairly sure that as a grad student at Columbia he started in art history and was taking coursework in both fields before switching to philosophy for his phd (his dissertation was on the concept of style in art history). Also Karsten Harries at Yale works a lot on aestheitcs and intersections of art and philosophy (he is also in the philosophy dept). Columbia is of course well-known as a school where theory and criticism flourish, and from Arthur Danto on they have had people in the philosophy dept working on art history (and vice-versa). Princeton has a very strong Philosophy program, and people like Alexander nehamas are very interested in aesthetics. Chicago and Duke have strong interdisciplinary focuses in art history. I know of Darby English and WJT Mitchell at Chicago and Mark Antliff at duke in particular. I'd not rule out philosophy PhDs just yet!! You can still take coursework in art history! Good luck!

Thanks a lot!! I would LOVE to do my Ph.D. in Philosophy. Thank you very much for your advice regarding faculty. It's really really useful. The only problem with Philosophy Ph.D. programs in the US is that they often have lots of required courses in philosophy of mind, philosophy of science and analytic philosophy in general, and honestly I'm not at all interested in those areas. The only thing I find interesting of analytic philosophy is its focus on problems and not authors. I'll look into the professors you mentioned. Thanks again!

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Hi surlefil, you are welcome I hope some of those professors will be interesting to you! Actually it looks like Jonathan Gilmore is no longer at Yale...he is a visiting prof at Columbia this year but am not sure if he will stay there. Also I should have clarified that Profs English and Mitchell at Chicago and Antliff at Duke teach in art history depts. Both Prof English and Mitchell are particularly theory/interdisciplinary-heavy (something chicago is well-known for in general!) and Prof Antliff, while his interests are fundamentally historical, is deeply interested in philosophy and resonances between art and philosophy. You might also want to look at some visual culture/studies programs (like rochester, buffalo, ucsd - especially look at Norman Bryson!), or art history profs working in this space (like Jonathan Crary and Keith Moxey at Columbia). They might be a closer fit to what you are looking for! I don't really know about requirements for philosophy PhDs, but I imagine you are right that you would have to have a fluency in the discipline at large... Good luck I hope you find some programs that work for you!!

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I also just remembered: look at David Carrier! He (like Gilmore) was a student of Danto at Columbia and is a big player in philosophy of art. I think he is at Case Western? And maybe Lambert Zuidervaart at University of Toronto, who works on aesthetic theories of Adorno, Habermas etc? http://philosophy.utoronto.ca/people/faculty/members-of-other-departments-appointed-to-the-graduate-faculty/lambert-zuidervaart

Edited by 2013app
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Thank you SO much! I'll read some of their work so I can have an idea of what they do and how they do it. I hope I have chances of being accepted at a school like Columbia. I asked in the Philosophy gradcafe forum and some people helped me to have an idea.

Thanks again!

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Chicago and Duke have strong interdisciplinary focuses in art history. I know of Darby English and WJT Mitchell at Chicago and Mark Antliff at duke in particular. I'd not rule out philosophy PhDs just yet!! You can still take coursework in art history! Good luck!

 

I definitely second this. For Chicago you might be interested in applying to their Committee for Social Thought program; it's an interdisciplinary PhD so you can do coursework across several departments.

 

If you are looking at Duke, you might also be interested in Mark Hansen as well--he is quite the bomb in media philosophy.

 

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