Postgraduate Diploma Course in Aesthetics, Criticism and Theory (ACT) | Postgraduate Certificate Course in Aesthetics, Criticism and Theory (ACT)

Aesthetics, Criticism and Theory (ACT)

Image: Homestead, Fletcher Williams III, 2018
Materials: Tin Roof, Picket Fence, Interior Wood Paneling, and Rebar
Dimensions: 44 x 44 x 84 in.

JPM’s intensive postgraduate certificate course in Aesthetics, Criticism and Theory (ACT) provides students with a rigorous introduction to art history, criticism, aesthetics, critical theory, and contemporary art practice. In-depth seminars at the institute are complemented by film screenings, studio, gallery and museum visits, ensuring a thorough engagement with a breadth of artistic praxes and institutions of the art world. For the duration of the course, students can expect to have three to four sessions per week, both at JPM and across the city.

ACT begins with classes on aesthetics in Western philosophy with careful attention to Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Hegel and Foucault. We then move to an analysis of how the discipline of art history and the practice of art criticism emerged and transformed over time. Students survey the field of art history and criticism in South Asia in relation to developments in the West. These survey lectures will be followed by a week long seminar on ‘Shock and Awe: The Sublime in the 18th and 19th Century’. The second month of the course also includes a critical writing workshop, allowing the students to practice and engage with a variety of forms for writing about art.

The second section of the course is devoted to the foundations of critical theory with close readings of Marx, Lefebvre and the Frankfurt School, followed by seminars on ‘the many lives of images’ and ‘spaces of colonial and postcolonial modernity’. These seminars prepare students for the final section, which puts theory into direct engagement with practice. Inviting practitioners that consciously move between disciplines, institutions, pedagogy, curating and diverse forms of making and exhibiting, students are exposed to a range of contemporary creative processes.

Seminars on modernism, modernity and postmodernism open the final month of the course. These classes provide tools with which to address and understand contemporary art. Engaging with thinkers such as Geeta Kapur, Arjun Appadurai, Laura Mulvey, TJ Clark, Arthur Danto, Paul Gilroy, Abigail Solomon-Godeau, WJT Mitchell, and Jacques Ranciere, among many others, students enter the charged debates that follow from key moments in art history marked by texts such as When Was Modernism and The Black Atlantic. Classes on documentary practice, histories of photography and video art, and the unpacking of recent transmedia exhibitions like When is Space (Jawahar Kala Kendra, 2018) and The Boat is Leaking. The Captain Lied. (Fondazione Prada, 2017) accompany these seminars.

Throughout the course, students engage with the oeuvres of select painters, sculptors, architects, as well as video, performance, sound, digital and multimedia artists. ACT brings the very best faculty of scholars and practitioners from our city, India, and abroad; those experienced in pedagogy that tacks between lecture, discussion, close reading, seeing, and writing. ACT students are introduced to ideas and histories that allow them to develop and evolve their own academic research, writing, and professional interests in the visual arts world imaginatively.

Learning how to read, think and write critically are an essential part of the course. The history of aesthetics and the history of art, media and technology go hand in hand. Scholars have carefully selected texts, films, exhibitions and artists for each session and much of this material is available to the students on our online learning management portal, JPM Think. Students are expected to come to class well-prepared.

Lecture Schedule


4 February 2020 - Tuesday
1) Introduction
- Ms. Alisha Sett

5 February 2020 - Wednesday
2) Plato’s Republic
- Prof. Arun Iyer

6 February 2020 - Thursday
3) Aristotle’s Poetics
- Prof. Arun Iyer


11 February 2020 - Tuesday
4) Kant’s Critique of Judgment
- Prof. Arun Iyer

12 February 2020 - Wednesday
5) Hegel: Introduction to the Lectures on Art
- Prof. Arun Iyer

13 February 2020 - Thursday
6) Foucault: Manet and the Essence of Painting
- Prof. Arun Iyer


18 February 2020 – Tuesday
7) Art History and the History of Art Criticism I– From Giorgio Vasari to Lucy Lippard, with special reference to Aby Warburg and Erwin Panofsky
- Ms. Nancy Adajania 

19 February 2020 - Wednesday
8) Art History and the History of Art Criticism II– The Indian Context, from Coomaraswamy to Geeta Kapur
- Ms. Nancy Adajania 

20 February 2020 - Thursday
9) Art History I – The Heaven of Ideas, the Floor of the Studio
- Mr. Ranjit Hoskote 

21 February 2020 - Friday
10) Art History II – From Winckelmann to Wolfflin: The Making of Art History
- Mr. Ranjit Hoskote 


27 February 2020 - Thursday - Public Lecture*
11) Theory and Practice of Imperialism: Locating the British Raj
- Dr. Zareer Masani


3 March 2020 - Tuesday
12) From the Communist Manifesto to Sartre's Critique of Dialectical Reason
- Prof. Jairus Banaji

5 March 2020 - Thursday
13) Marx's Capital: a basic introduction (architecture, analysis, definitions)
- Prof. Jairus Banaji




20 March 2020 - Friday
14) Critical Writing Workshop: Part I 
- Mr. Aveek Sen


28 March 2020 - Saturday - 1.30 to 5 PM
15) Indian Aesthetics in the Early 20th century: The Art and Thought of Rabindranath Tagore
- Dr. Jaya Kanoria


31 March 2020 - Tuesday
16) Davis’ Lives of Images
- Prof. Alka Hingorani

1 April 2020 - Wednesday
17) Orientalism I
- Dr. Jaya Kanoria

2 April 2020 – Thursday
18) Orientalism II
- Dr. Jaya Kanoria

4 April 2020 – Saturday – 2 TO 5 PM
19) Colonial Modernity, Nationalism and Everyday Space
- Prof. Himanshu Burte


7 April 2020 - Tuesday
20) When is Space? Tendencies in Contemporary Architecture in India I
- Ms. Rupali Gupte and Prasad Shetty

8 April 2020 - Wednesday
21) When is Space? Tendencies in Contemporary Architecture in India II
- Ms. Rupali Gupte and Prasad Shetty

11 April 2020 – Saturday – 2 TO 5 PM
22) The Spaces of Postcolonial Modernities
- Prof. Himanshu Burte


14 April 2020 - Tuesday
23) Charles Correa: Trajectories and Contexts
- Mr. Ranjit Hoskote 

15 April 2020 - Wednesday
24) Art and Agency I: From Chittoprasad to Navjot
- Ms. Nancy Adajania 

16 April 2020 - Thursday
25) Art and Agency II: From Chittoprasad to Navjot
- Ms. Nancy Adajania 

17 April 2020 - Friday
26) Shock and Awe: The Sublime in 18th and 19th Century Art, Literature, Music
- Mr. Aveek Sen 


20 April 2020 - Monday
27) Critical Writing Workshop: Part II
- Mr. Aveek Sen

   23 April 2020 - Thursday
   28) Walter Benjamin
   - Mr. Aveek Sen

24 April 2020 - Friday
29) Theodor Adorno
- Mr. Aveek Sen 


28 April 2020 - Tuesday
30) Black Vernacular Aesthetics I: Then and Now
- Dr. Radiclani Clytus

29 April 2020 - Wednesday
31) Black Vernacular Aesthetics II: Then and Now 
- Dr. Radiclani Clytus 

3 May 2020 - Sunday - 4 to 7 PM
32) When Was Modernism
- Alisha Sett and Sunil Shah


10 May 2020 - Sunday - 4 to 7 PM
33) The Document and the Archive
- Alisha Sett and Sunil Shah


Classes mainly on Tuesdays and Wednesdays

Timing: 6:00 – 8:30 PM 

Eligibility: Graduation Degree

Admission Requirements: 

  • A copy of your last degree certificate
  • A passport-size photograph