Kingston University London

Aesthetics and Art Theory MA

This course combines a grounding in philosophical aesthetics in the modern European tradition with a study of contemporary art theory and the philosophy of art history. It offers an overview of philosophical approaches to modern art, distinguishing between ‘aesthetic', ‘Romantic', and ‘Modernist' problematics, and considers current debates on situated and ‘planetary' aesthetics. Modules engage with figures like Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, Gilles Deleuze, Jacques Rancière, Rosalind Krauss, and Benjamin Buchloh. You will study at the UK's leading Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy at Kingston University, which hosts conferences, workshops, and regular seminars.

Entry Requirements

  • Applicants must normally have a 2:1 or above honours degree in Philosophy or a related subject.
  • IELTS of 6.5 overall, with no element below 5.5.

Career Prospects

Our graduates often progress to research degrees in European philosophy and critical theory, or to careers in media/journalism, publishing, the arts, education, and public policy.

For example, recent graduates from the Aesthetics and Art Theory MA course have progressed to the following:

  • Michael Sperlinger has become assistant director of the arts agency Lux (London);
  • Marta Kuzma has become director of the Office of Contemporary Art Norway (Oslo);
  • Ruth Blacksell has become a lecturer and associate director of O-SB Design, University of Reading;
  • Louise Hanson has begun a PhD at Brasenose College, Oxford;
  • Dessislava Dimova is finishing a PhD at the Bulgarian Academy;
  • Anda Klavina is now a curator at the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art (Riga);
  • Kate Parker is director of City Projects (London);
  • John Millar began a PhD at CRMEP in autumn 2015 having been awarded a TECHNE-AHRC Consortium Studentship;
  • Andrey Shental is senior editor at Theory and Practice while contributing to several other Russian periodicals, including Artchronika;
  • Alex Fletcher has been awarded a 3-Year PhD AHRC Studentship by the TECHNE consortium, to work on 'Spaces of Capital: Narrating Social Space and Time in the Photo and Video Essay' in the CRMEP;

Course Details

You'll engage with some of the most influential texts in modern and contemporary art theory from Kant, Schiller and Schlegel to Greenberg, Adorno, Rancière and Deleuze – framed in terms of fundamental conceptual problems inherited from the German Idealists.

Core Modules

Kant and the Aesthetic Tradition
Philosophy Dissertation

Optional Modules

Art Theory: Modernism, Avant-Garde, Contemporary
Contemporary European Philosophies
Critique, Practice, Power
German Critical Theory
Hegel and his Legacy
Kant and his Legacy
Nietzsche and Heidegger
Philosophy and Psychoanalysis
Plasticity and Form
Political Philosophy
Recent French Philosophy
Recent Italian Philosophy
Romantic Philosophy of Art
Topics in Modern European Philosophy

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