McMicken College of Arts & SciencesUniversity of Cincinnati

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Philosophy Professor Incorporates Love of Art into Research

Professor of Philosophy Jenefer Robinson starts her term as president of the American Society for Aesthetics.

Date: 2/5/2009
By: Matt Cunningham
Phone: (513) 556-4190
Photos By: UC Photographic Services
Department of Philosophy Professor Jenefer Robinson has built a career studying aesthetics Ė the philosophical issues surrounding humansí perceptions of art, nature and beauty. The 2006 winner of the Rieveschl Award for Scholarly and/or Creative Works spent the last two years serving as vice president of the American Society for Aesthetics, and this year she begins a two-year term as that societyís president.

Jenefer Robinson works with students in a philosophy class.
Philosophy Professor Jenefer Robinson is in the first year of her two-year term as president of the American Society for Aesthetics.

Q: How do you describe the field of aesthetics to someone who might not be familiar with it?

A: This field addresses the philosophical issues surrounding art and the aesthetic experience. What does it mean for a work of art to express emotion? What is aesthetic experience?  Does music have meaning and if so how? This branch of philosophy discusses these kinds of questions. That exploration also extends to nature and the aesthetic experience of natural beauty.

Q: So what attracted you to this field of research?

A: It was my love of the arts and an interest in the abstract theories relating to the arts. You canít be in aesthetics unless you have a real love for the arts.

Q: You were elected vice president of the American Society for Aesthetics in 2007 and will serve as its president for the next two years. Why did you decide to get involved with the society?

A: Itís a small society within philosophy, and itís a very nice group. Itís very friendly and supportive. It promotes aesthetics and helps scholars find research funding. We try and build a constituency in aesthetics. For example, we just started an online graduate student journal.

Q: And that journal is specifically for publishing graduate studentsí work?

A: Yes. Itís a nice thing for them, a way of honing their skills while theyíre still graduate students.


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