Exploration of Western theories of beauty from Plato to the present. What do we mean when we call something beautiful? Does beauty belong to an object or an observer’s mind? Is art or nature the best example of beauty? The class also examines the intertwining of modern theories of beauty with theories of race; analyzes the gender and power dynamics of theories of beauty; and asks about the relationship of aesthetics to society, politics, and biology. Readings include authors such as Plato, Burke, G.E. Lessing, Kant, Schiller, Charles Darwin, George Eliot, Nietzsche, W.E.B. DuBois, Arthur Danto, Elaine Scarry, Alice Walker, and Semir Zeki. Taught in English.