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	Suffering, Art, and Aesthetics

Suffering, Art, and Aesthetics

Ratiba Hadj-Moussa, Michael Nijhawan [dir.]
New York,  Palgrave Macmillan,  [2014],  244 p.
Prix : 60 £ - 95 $

How do we conceptualize the relationship between suffering, art, and aesthetics from within the broader framework of social, cultural, and political thought today? How do we test the limits of such frameworks of thinking and speaking when reflecting on artworks that are situated at the very edges of everyday human experiences of vulnerability, loss, and ongoing suffering? This book brings together a range of intellectuals from the social sciences and humanities to speak to cutting-edge theoretical debates around the questions of suffering in art and suffering and art.

Table of contents

  • Introduction: Suffering in Art: Redrawing the Boundaries Ratiba Hadj-Moussa and Michael Nijhawan
  • 1. In Praise of Ambiguity: On the Visual Economy of Distant Suffering Fuyuki Kurasawa
  • 2. Denial and Challenges of Modernity: Suffering, Recognition, and Dignity in Sammy Baloji's Photography Bogumil Jewsiewicki
  • 3. Events, Images, and Affect: The Tsunami in the Folk Art of Bengal Roma Chatterji
  • 4. Vocalizations of Suffering Caterina Pasqualino
  • 5. The Art of Suffering: Postcolonial (Mis)Apprehensions of Nigerian Art Conerly Casey
  • 6. The Past's Suffering and the Body's Suffering: Algerian Cinema and the Challenge of Experience Ratiba Hadj-Moussa
  • 7. The Diasporic Rasa of Suffering: Notes on the Aesthetics of Image and Sound in Indo-Caribbean and Sikh Art Michael Nijhawan and Anna C. Schultz
  • 8. Suffering, Animals, Spectators, and the Challenge of Contemporary Art Nathalie Heinich


  • "It is the great merit of this collective volume to bring together recent theoretical advances in the anthropology of art and original empirical cases from various parts of the world, so as to link in novel manner aesthetics, politics, and subjectivities." - Didier Fassin, co-author (with Richard Retchman) of The Empire of Trauma and author of Humanitarian Reason
  • "It's commonplace to criticize depictions of suffering as numbing spectacle. Suffering, Art, and Aesthetics offers powerful cases of artworks in many media that capture and express the suffering of others, whether between generations or across cultures, with thoughtful care. By strategies such as privileging the ordinary, giving precedence to non-visual sensory experience, and addressing local audiences first, artworks can decelerate the transition from sensation to meaning, giving recipients time and space to feel, gradually decipher, and collectively learn from experiences of suffering." - Laura U. Marks, Simon Fraser University, Canada

About the Authors

  • Ratiba Hadj-Moussa is Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of the Graduate Program in Gender, Feminist, and Women's Studies at York University, Canada.
  • Michael Nijhawan is Associate Professor of Sociology at York University, Canada.


  • Conerly Casey, Rochester Institute of Technology, USA
  • Roma Chatterji, Delhi University, India
  • Nathalie Heinich, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), France
  • Bogumil Jewsiewicki, Université Laval, Canada
  • Fuyuki Kurasawa, York University, Canada
  • Caterina Pasquilino, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), France
  • Anna Schultz, Stanford University, USA
  • Michael Nijhawan is Associate Professor of Sociology at York University, Canada.

Photo credits: Sammy Baloji

  • Palgrave Macmillan,July 2014, 244 pages. ISBN: 978-1137426079 (hardcover). 95$ - 60£ ; ISBN/ 9781137426086 (pdf) ; ISBN: 9781137426093 (epub)

Suffering, Art, and Aesthetics

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