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Under RepresentationThe Racial Regime of Aesthetics$
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David Lloyd

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780823282388

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823282388.001.0001

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The Pathological Sublime: Pleasure and Pain in the Racial Regime

The Pathological Sublime: Pleasure and Pain in the Racial Regime

Chapter:
(p.44) Chapter 2 The Pathological Sublime: Pleasure and Pain in the Racial Regime
Source:
Under Representation
Author(s):

David Lloyd

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823282388.003.0003

“The Pathological Sublime” shows how Kant’s location of aesthetic experience in the subjective yet universal judgment of taste generates a concept of representation that is fundamentally racial and developmental. He labels Edmund Burke’s alternative approach to aesthetic affects “pathological,” meaning an unfree state based on sensation, fear or desire. The pathological subject is the antithesis of the ethical human who can participate in civil society through sharing the common sense that grounds aesthetic universality. Burke’s reflections on the sublime horror inspired by the sight of a black woman mark the limit of the argument for universality he bases on sensations. Where Frantz Fanon’s racial phenomenology of being seen in Black Skin White Masks dramatizes his “lived experience” of being barred from human identity, Burke’s anecdote foregrounds the anxious abyss into which the encounter with blackness throws the white subject and his representational schemas.

Keywords:   Burke, Edmund, Fanon, Frantz, judgment of taste, Kant, Immanuel, representation

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