Practical Philosophy Seminar: Ingvild Torsen

 "Angela Davis and Friedrich Schiller on Violence and Tragedy"

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Ingvild Torsen, Associate Professor, UiO


In the mid-sixties, before returning to the US and becoming the nation's most well-known communist, feminist activist, Angela Davis studied with Adorno and Marcuse in Frankfurt and planned to write a dissertation on freedom in the aesthetic theories of Kant and Schiller. Schiller’s early romantic view of the importance of aesthetics for both autonomy and Buildung might seem miles away from the militant Black activism of Southern California two hundred years later, but here I want to show how Schiller’s theory can illuminate Davis’ reading of Fredrick Douglass Narrative of his life in slavery. This leads to a rejuvenation of the philosophical problem of tragedy: how can the aesthetic experience of violence and suffering be valuable? 

Published Feb. 11, 2022 1:14 PM - Last modified June 28, 2022 10:10 AM