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Accepted Paper:

Singing the Universe: Kant’s aesthetic and indigenous Siberian pop  
Eleanor Peers (University of Oxford)

Paper short abstract:

This article considers the aesthetic experience of music as mediating the sentient landscape secularist capitalism denies. I incorporate Kant’s aesthetic into tracing the continuities between the Indigenous Siberian Sakha people’s traditional Ohuokhai, and their contemporary pop music.

Paper long abstract:

This article considers the aesthetic experience of music as mediating the presences that secularist capitalism denies – and, specifically, the loving, creative persons in a sentient landscape. The ethnography traces the continuities between two forms of song, the Ohuokhai choral dance and contemporary pop, linked by their situation in a single territory – Sakha (Yakutia), Siberia – and community, the Indigenous Siberian Sakha people. I juxtapose Kant’s philosophy of the aesthetic with the aesthetic experience of Sakha music, to show how Sakha musicians have adapted the technologies of capitalist popular music into their ongoing relationship with creative beings in the land. Kant’s aesthetic can help us appreciate the ontological ambiguity of music. His positioning of aesthetic experience in the interstices, and yet also beyond, knowledge and communication affords music the mediation of non-human presences Sakha musicians describe. This Enlightenment philosopher – who nonetheless preceded high modernism and disaster-stage capitalism – can be co-opted into the articulation of a sentient landscape and its non-human persons. Capitalism’s secularist assumptions are doubly undermined, through the insights of both contemporary Sakha musicians, and a founding father of the liberal intellectual tradition.

Panel P135
Living (un)commonly within (and perhaps beyond?) late-liberalism: Exploring the endurance of new and longstanding alternative worlds
  Session 1 Thursday 28 July, 2022, -