In the predominantly white institution (PWI) where I teach, I regularly offer a 3rd-year undergraduate course titled Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art. Early in the semester, I give a lecture in which I discuss the circulation of power and privilege in the determination of what counts as good taste and which artworks are incorporated into the canon. We read a selection from Kwame Anthony Appiah (1992) and discuss works from the Baule and Yoruba cultures. We read Maurice Berger (1990) and discuss the work of American artists David Hammons and Kara Walker, both of whom confront the stubborn persistence of racial stereotypes and racialized oppression. We read Carol Duncan (1983) and discuss the gendered nature of the projects that have often been most highly valued in art.
A few years ago, after … (to read more)