Monday, September 12, 2005

For later reading

Just saw this in the current Critical Inquiry table of contents and want to read it later:

"The Cuteness of the Avant-Garde," by Sianne Ngai

Some of you might remember the discussion around the use of the word "cute" on a certain professional list earlier this year. Ngai writes:

the subject’s awareness, as she gazes at her little object, that she may be willfully imposing its cuteness upon it, is more likely to augment rather than detract from the aesthetic illusion, calling attention to an unusual degree of synonymy between objectification and cutification. (816)

Cutification. Now there's a concept to play around with. (Although Ngai focuses on cuteness as necessarily connected to the visual, which doesn't at first thought seem to be what the "cute" comment, in that it was related to pedagogy, suggests, it still might be related: cute pedagogy as pedagogy that draws attention to itself, to its appearance, style.)

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