Research Thursdays - New book by the Dorothy F. Schmidt Eminent Scholar in the Humanities
Thursday, Sep 16, 2021
Richard Shusterman, Dorothy F. Schmidt Eminent Scholar in the Humanities, Professor of Philosophy and English, and Director of the Center for Body, Mind, and Culture recently published Ars Erotica: Sex and Somaesthetics. The term ars erotica refers to the styles and techniques of lovemaking with the honorific title of art. But in what sense are these practices artistic and how do they contribute to the aesthetics and ethics of self-cultivation in the art of living? In this book, Shusterman offers a critical, comparative analysis of the erotic theories proposed by the most influential premodern cultural traditions that shaped our contemporary world.
Beginning with ancient Greece, whose god of desiring love gave eroticism its name, Shusterman examines the Judeo-Christian biblical tradition and the classical erotic theories of Chinese, Indian, Islamic, and Japanese cultures, before concluding with medieval and Renaissance Europe. His exploration of their errors and insights shows how we could improve the quality of life and love today.
“Shusterman continues his somaesthetic revolution by taking the stodgy professional discipline to task with a sex education that seeks to refine rather than contain, and to elevate rather than ignore this vital aspect of the human experience.” – Roger T. Ames, Peking University
“In a critical, comparative, non-reductive, and gender-sensitive way, Shusterman sheds new light on the dialectic relationship between erotic pleasure, sex, gender, politics, culture, religious beliefs, and habits. The book is groundbreaking.” – Psychology of Women Quarterly
Richard Shusterman received a BA and MA from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a doctorate from Oxford University, and taught in Israel before continuing his academic career in the USA. Prior to his tenure at FAU, he chaired the Philosophy Department at Temple University and had visiting appointments in Paris, Berlin, and Hiroshima. A much-translated author, his Pragmatist Aesthetics is published in 15 languages, and he has received honorary doctorates from universities in Denmark
and Hungary. The French government awarded him the title of Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques for his
There will be a lecture and book launch for Ars Erotica on Monday, Nov. 15 at 4 p.m. in the Performing Arts Building, room 101 on the Boca Raton campus. Shusterman will suggest how a new somaesthetic approach could channel the power of eros to cultivate qualities of courtesy, grace, skill, self-mastery and sensitivity to the feelings of others.
“Through such an approach, we can imagine a richer, more positive vision of sex education than we have today,” said Shusterman.
More information about the event and the book can be found at fau.edu/artsandletters/bodymindculture/news