Shusterman’s Somaesthetics

From Hip Hop Philosophy to Politics and Performance Art


Volume Editor:
This edited collection provides an in-depth and wide-ranging exploration of pragmatist philosopher Richard Shusterman’s distinctive project of “somaesthetics,” devoted not only to better understanding bodily experience but also to greater mastery of somatic perception, performance, and presentation. Against contemporary trends that focus narrowly on conceptual and computational thinking, Shusterman returns philosophy to what is most fundamental—the sentient, expressive, human body with its creations of living beauty. Twelve scholars here provide penetrating critical analyses of Shusterman on ontology, perception, language, literature, culture, politics, aesthetics, cuisine, music, and the visual arts, including films of his work in performance art.

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Jerold J. Abrams is Professor of Philosophy at Creighton University and editor of The Philosophy of Stanley Kubrick. His essays have appeared in The Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society, Practicing Pragmatist Aesthetics, Shusterman’s Pragmatism, and many other volumes.
"This book accurately reflects the diversity that can be seen in the research of philosophers inspired by Shusterman […] Part of the book’s strength is that the authors of the studies have known Shusterman personally for many years, they can see his entire oeuvre and, accordingly, are able to interpret certain details in depth [...] Abrams’s edited collection on Shusterman’s somaesthetics is like a journey in which rational planning progresses while evoking emotional memories. It brings the reader much closer to somaesthetics and its multiple possibilities of interpretation and application. The entire book, not least through the golden image of the philosopher without words, demonstrates that soundless screams cannot go unnoticed and the clamorous silence of the body can be a reality." - Nóra Horváth, in: The Journal of Somaesthetics 9/1-2 (2023), p. 39-45.

"For the first time, a book is devoted entirely to the practical and performative dimension of Shusterman’s somaesthetics. This is important because the aforementioned dimension is rich and complex, with several ramifications, including the question of performance, the question of popular arts and hip hop in particular, and the political question [...] The book does more than describe somaesthetics [...] It also allows its authors to criticize its foundations, open up debates, and/or propose the extension or reform some of its features, to put forward new theses whose ambition is to advance pragmatism on a general scale. [...] A book whose reading is undoubtedly experienced as an active, somatic, and affective experience." - Alice Dupas, in: Pragmatism Today 14/2 (2023), p. 85-89.

"Abrams has managed to compile a book that captures the immense complexity of Shusterman’s philosophy, art, and life (while still making no claim to completeness) [...] Although less than three hundred pages in length, the contents of the Abrams volume are extremely comprehensive and wide-ranging. This is due to the great choice of the authors of the texts, who are both true experts in Shusterman’s philosophy and undisputed experts in their respective fields of knowledge, which is reflected in the quality of the individual chapters of the book. [...] The added value of Abrams’ book is that the reader feels that Shusterman is somehow suddenly closer to him. Even though he knows him as a world renowned figure in contemporary philosophy, he suddenly sees him as a human being – a philosopher and an artist (in the conjunction of all of the above words) whose life creates philosophy, and whose philosophy is created by his life" - Lukáš Arthur Švihura, in: The Slovak Journal of Aesthetics 12/2 (2023) [Full review]

"Jerold J. Abrams’s edited volume Shusterman’s Somaesthetics: From Hip Hop Philosophy to Politics and Performance Art, recently published in the Brill series ‘Studies in Somaesthetics,’ aims (and, in my opinion, definitely succeeds) to offer a broad overview and a detailed interpretation of Richard Shusterman’s decades-long, thematically wide and pluralist, and quite often theoretically challenging, philosophical path." - Stefano Marino, in: The Slovak Journal of Aesthetics 12/2 (2023) [Full review]

List of Figures

Notes on Contributors

  Jerold J. Abrams

part 1
Pragmatism and Somaesthetics
1 Shusterman’s Pragmatist Philosophy
  Stefán Snævarr

2 From Pragmatism to Somaesthetics as Philosophy
  Alexander Kremer

3 Somaesthetics, Somapower, and the Microphysics of Emancipation
  Leszek Koczanowicz

4 Living Beauty, Rethinking Rap Revisiting Shusterman’s Philosophy of Hip Hop
  Max Ryynänen

5 Somaesthetics and Pathic Aesthetics
  Tonino Griffero

6 Eating as an Aesthetic Activity Somaesthetics and Food Studies
  Dorota Koczanowicz

part 2
Performative Philosophy and the Man in Gold
7 Somaesthetics, Photography, and the Man in Gold
  Jerold J. Abrams

8 An Exquisitely Beautiful Longing A Lacanian Reading of The Adventures of the Man in Gold
  Diane Richard-Allerdyce

9 Shusterman as Philosopher and the Man in Gold
  Yvonne Bezrucka

10 The Golden Turn in Shusterman’s Somaesthetics The Magical Figure of the Man in Gold
  Else Marie Bukdahl

11 On Shusterman’s Somaesthetic Practice The Case of the Man in Gold
  Yang Lu

12 Somaesthetics and Cinema The Man in Gold in the Film Walk the Golden Night
  Jerold J. Abrams

part 3
Shusterman in His Own Words
13 Somaesthetics, Pragmatism, and the Man in Gold Remarks on the Preceding Chapters
  Richard Shusterman

14 On the Path of Somaesthetics An Interview with Richard Shusterman
  Yanping Gao


This volume will be of interest to undergraduates, graduate students, professors, working in American philosophy, aesthetics (including popular art), and embodiment.
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