Aesthetics is concerned with the nature of beauty and taste, but different cultures and civilizations have developed different traditions in appreciating what is beautiful in relation to what is true and good. In summarizing Western, Hindu and Chinese conceptions of the aesthetic, the American philosopher Archie J. Bahm argues aesthetic experience consists in the intuition of intrinsic values. Such values are manifested in different orientations reflecting different metaphysical sources in aesthetic theory. While western tradition idealizes ‘either/or but not both’, and Hindu tradition worships a ‘neither/nor logic’, the Chinese tradition tends towards ‘both’ in terms of yin and yang. These possible differences, however, may become complicated with the onset of modernity when the spread of ideas, values, and practices has broken down cultural, national, political, and religious barriers.
This conference brings together contributors from different countries and regions to present their research with reference to issues of aesthetics and national/cultural identities. It focuses on the crisis of aesthetic modernity created by tensions between traditions and modernity. The conference aims to examine the national, cultural and cross-cultural aesthetic - to explore how a variety of aesthetic forms are used and appropriated in the furtherance of social, cultural and national agendas, and how this impacted on the making of 'national/cultural identities' in all their complexities.