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180120 VO Aesthetics in the Context of Indian Philosophies (2019S)

The Heart as the Place of Aesthetic Receptivity

5.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 18 - Philosophie


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).


Language: German

Examination dates


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Friday 15.03. 18:30 - 20:00 Hörsaal II NIG Erdgeschoß
Tuesday 19.03. 18:30 - 20:00 Hörsaal II NIG Erdgeschoß
Tuesday 26.03. 18:30 - 20:00 Hörsaal II NIG Erdgeschoß
Tuesday 02.04. 18:30 - 20:00 Hörsaal II NIG Erdgeschoß
Tuesday 09.04. 18:30 - 20:00 Hörsaal II NIG Erdgeschoß
Tuesday 30.04. 18:30 - 20:00 Hörsaal II NIG Erdgeschoß
Tuesday 07.05. 18:30 - 20:00 Hörsaal II NIG Erdgeschoß
Tuesday 14.05. 18:30 - 20:00 Hörsaal II NIG Erdgeschoß
Tuesday 21.05. 18:30 - 20:00 Hörsaal II NIG Erdgeschoß
Tuesday 28.05. 18:30 - 20:00 Hörsaal II NIG Erdgeschoß
Tuesday 04.06. 18:30 - 20:00 Hörsaal II NIG Erdgeschoß
Tuesday 18.06. 18:30 - 20:00 Hörsaal II NIG Erdgeschoß
Tuesday 25.06. 18:30 - 20:00 Hörsaal II NIG Erdgeschoß


Aims, contents and method of the course

The aim of this course consists in introducing you to the most significant concepts of Indian aesthetics that allow us to consider the relationship of art and philosophy in an intercultural context. The lecture will begin with an examination of Nāṭyaśāstra, a text on theatrical performance (200 BC- 200 AD), which is primarily concerned with the idea of becoming someone „who has a heart“ (sahrdaya). Someone who has a heart is someone who's organs of thought and senses have been sublimated in such a way that she or he is capable of conceiving the essence of the thing. In this context, we will analyse central concepts of Indian aesthetics such as „sublimation“, „catharsis“, „de-subjectivation“, „mood/feeling/sense“ and set them in relation to European concepts. We will draw on classical (Abhinavagupta, Aurobindo) as well as contemporary commentaries (Bettina Bäumer, Susanne K. Langer, S.K. Saxena).
At the end of the semester, we will discuss examples of living Indian artists, in order to provide an insight into contemporary artistic work in India, which primarily deals with the socio-political questions such as the status of the woman in India, the necessity of an ecologization of our production methods, the call to abolish „alienated labour conditions“ (critique of capitalism), the critique of hierarchical social forms (caste system, institutional Brahmanism) as well as the critique of colonial structures (postcolonialism) that will be closely linked to a critique of globalisation.

Assessment and permitted materials

Written examination. The first examination date will take place at the end of June. Further examination dates: first week of October, midst of December, end of January 2020 (dates will be announced during the course of the semester)

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

Written examinations will be comprised of four main questions with sub-questions (max. 40 points):
0-20 points = insufficient, 21-25 points = sufficient, 26-30 points = satisfactory, 31-35 points = good, 36-40 points = very good. There are no auxiliary devices allowed at the exam.

Examination topics

Lectures and compulsory literature made available on Moodle by tutor Sara Walker.

Reading list

Only Texts that will be discussed in the course of the semester, will be relevant for the exam. These texts will be part of the power point slides that will be made available on Moodle.

Primary literature:

Sri Aurobindo: The Secret of the Veda. Ashram Trust 1998

Bäumer, Bettina: Die flüssige Natur ästhetischer Erfahrung. Polylog 35 (2016), 89–95.

Bharata Muni: The Nāṭyaśāstra. Übersetzt von Manomohan Ghosh. Asiatic Society of Bengal: Calcutta 1951 (Selection).

Böhler, Arno und Loughnane, Adam und Parkes, Graham: „Performing Philosophy in Asian Traditions.“ Performance Philosophy Journal Vol 1 (2015), 133–147.

Saxena, S. K.: Aesthetics. Approaches, Concepts and Problems. Sangeet Natak Adademi: India 2010.

Deshpande G.T.: Abhinavagupta, Sahitya Akademi, Delhi 19922.

Gnoli, Raniero: The Aesthetic Experience According to Abhinavagupta, The Chowkhamba Sanskrit Series Office: Varanasi 1985.

Further literature (not compulsory):

Appa Rao, Ponangi Śri Rama: Special Aspects of Nāṭṭya Śāstra. Telugu Original. Translated by H.V. Sharma. New Delhi: National School of Drama, 2001.

Bhat, Govind Keshav: Nāṭya-Mañjarī-Saurabha: Sanskrit Dramatic Theory. Pune, India: Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, 1981.

Bhattacharya, Biswanath: Sanskrit Drama and Dramaturgy. Delhi: Sharada, 1974.

Böhler, Arno: „Open Bodies.“ Paragrana 18 (2009), 119–131.

Böhler Arno und Loughnane, Adam und Parkes, Graham und Granzer, Susanne: „Kunst und Philosophie im Zwischen der Kulturen. Ein E-Mail-Gespräch.“ Polylog 35 (2016), 7–33.

Grissom, Harriette D.: Feeling as Form in Indian Aesthetics. In: The Dynmaics of Cultural Counterpoint in Asian Studies. New York: Suny Press 2014.

Gupta, Chandra Bhan: The Indian Theatre: Its Origin and Development up to the Present Day. Banaras, India: Motilal Banarsidass, 1954.

Kale, Pramod K.: The Theatric Universe (A Study of the Nāṭṭyaśāstra). Bombay: Popular Prakashan 1974.

Mishra, Braj Vallabh: „The Rasa and Bhaava in the Naatyashaastra.“ In: Rasa-Bhaava. Darshan. Neu-Delhi: Clarion Books 1997.

Priyadarshi Patnaik: Rasa in Aesthetics. Delhi: D.K. Print World 1997.

Rangacharya Adya: Introduction to Bharata’s Nāṭṭya-Śāstra. New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal 1998.

––: The Nā tyasā stra. English Translation with Critical Notes. Neu-Delhi: Munshirm Manoharlal 2010.

Tampi, G. B. Mohan: „»Rasa« as Aesthetic Experience.“ The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Vol. 24, No. 1, Oriental Aesthetics. (1965), 75–80.

Tripathi, Kamlesh Datta: “Nāṭyaśāstra.” In: The Oxford Companion to Indian Theatre, 308–311. New Delhi: Oxford University Press 2004.

Tripathi, Radhavallabh: Lectures on the Nāṭṭyaśāstra. Pune, India: University of Poona 1991.

Vatsyayan, Kapila: Bharata, The Nāṭṭyaśāstra. New Delhi: Sahitya Academy 1996.

White, David Gordon: „Yogic Rays: The Self-Externalization of the Yogi in Ritual, Narrative and Philosophy.“ Paragrana 18 (2009), 64–77.

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Last modified: Sa 10.09.2022 00:19