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Current Issue

Issue No. 132
December 2023

Traditionally, art scholarship and aesthetic theory have taken a chaste stance toward physical pleasure. Carnal, bodily experiences of pleasure are often associated with a loss of critical thinking; they appear as a base impulse that is said to possess no political agency. Contrary to such dismissal, this issue seeks to tease out the critical potential of pleasure precisely in its very carnality and immediacy. Although pleasure is typically felt to be a deeply personal and inward experience, it is fundamentally premised on our being-affected and thus points up the relationality and incompleteness of our bodies. This suggests a capacity to arouse unforeseen connections in the social sphere that owe their existence not to the quest for some sort of “inner truths” but to the momentary intensification of bodily sensations.

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