Contemporary Aesthetics does not publish book reviews. However, to inform our readers of new publications of interest, we do publish brief descriptions extracted from information provided by the publishers. These notices do not necessarily represent the views or judgment of this journal. Readers are invited to send us such information about books they think will interest other readers of CA.

Aesthetic Theory Across the Disciplines, edited by Max Ryynänen & Zoltán Somhegyi (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2023), 256 pp.
ISBN 978-1-5381-7659-7

What is aesthetics? How is it related to other disciplines? The chapters of this book examine the history, theoretical conditions and connection points between aesthetics and other disciplines. At the same time, the authors are also interested in practical clashes of methodology and agenda, especially when it is not merely about the securing of the position of one or the other discipline, but is used, in a dialogical manner, as the form of understanding better the nature of both as well as the benefits of their collaboration. The authors work on the border of aesthetics and at least one other academic field. Through their regular scholarly activities, the contributors constantly benefit from cross- and interdisciplinary practice, and this makes them ideal interpreters of these methodological questions.


Aesthetic Literacy Series (3 volumes open access), edited by Valery Vinogradovs (published by mongrel matter).

Aesthetic Literacy Volume I: a book for everyone (ISBN: 978-0-6486054-0-9)
Aesthetic Literacy Volume II: out of mind (ISBN:978-0-6486054-1-6)
Aesthetic Literacy Volume III: an endgame (ISBN: 978-0-6486054-2-3)

From Yale to jail: a collective forming in Australia, mongrel matter delivers an eclectic collection in contemporary aesthetic education:

Aesthetic Literacy is an open, cross-genre experiment in philosophy of culture, a book-exercise which has taken four years to realise, turning into a maze wandering through three volumes, free-styled by one hundred and fifty contributors.
The ample cultural potential of aesthetics is inchoate, as things stand, while the sizable body of aesthetic studies enjoys sparse influence on school, tertiary, street, ecological, domestic and other areas of critical education. One is likely to learn about aesthetics at college or university, in a closed room, and not thanks to their parents, siblings, friends and lovers.

Mindful of such barriers and hierarchies, we offer to everyone this demonstrous book of searches for meaning in the most natural, river-like dimension of being, carrying you away to familiar and unknown shallows and depths. As a science and art of perception and experience, aesthetics is the first philosophy!

Aesthetic Literacy recognizes no writing style as superior to another, be it a dialogue beside a comic, or a rhyme by a mural: why would anyone discriminate against an aphorism next to an essay, if the meanings and feelings they shape are like figments of gold?

The three-volume book is authored by professors, near acclaimed and aspiring writers, journalists and storytellers, artists and aliases, and those who will not write and create again.


Arnold Berleant, The Social Aesthetics of Human Environments: Critical Themes (Bloomsbury Academic, 2023), 216 pp.

ISBN 9781350349322

Across these essays Arnold Berleant demonstrates how aesthetic values and theory can be used to reappraise our social practices. He tackles issues within the built environment, everyday life, and politics, breaking down the dichotomy between the natural and the human. His work represents a fresh approach to traditional philosophical questions in not only ethics, but in metaphysics, truth, meaning, psychology, phenomenology, and social and moral philosophy.

Topics covered include the cultural aesthetics of environment, ecological aesthetics, the aesthetics of terrorism, and the subversion of beauty. The corruption of taste by the forces of commercial interests as well as how aesthetics can advance our understanding of violence are also considered. Berleant’s exploration is supported by his analysis of 19th-century art to the present day, starting with impressionism through to postmodernism and contemporary artistic interventions.

By critically examining the field in this way and casting new light on social understanding and practice, this collection makes a substantive contribution in identifying and clarifying central human issues, guided by an understanding of aesthetic engagement as a powerful tool for social critique.