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Ernst Grosse and the Birth of the Anthropology of Aesthetics

Wilfried van Damme
Anthropos
Bd. 107, H. 2. (2012), pp. 497-509
Published by: Anthropos Institut
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23510054
Page Count: 13
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Abstract

It is generally held that anthropologists began methodically to confront questions of aesthetics only in the latter part of the twentieth century. However, the philosopher and ethnologist Ernst Grosse (1862—1927) published already in 1891 an essay suggesting that anthropology holds the key to solving some of aesthetics' most fundamental problems. He argued that such issues as universalism and cultural relativism in aesthetic preference could only be addressed fruitfully once anthropology's empirical data and contextual and intercultural perspective were taken into account. In doing so, Grosse was the first scholar to propose a systematic anthropological approach to aesthetics.

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