Critical Theory, Aesthetics, and Practice

JPM’s year-long postgraduate course in Critical Theory, Aesthetics, and Practice (CTAP) provides students a rigorous engagement with art history and criticism, aesthetics, and critical theory.

The course begins with sessions on aesthetics in Western philosophy, with careful attention to Plato, Kant, Nietzsche, and Danto; 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.

The second section of CTAP is devoted to the foundations of critical theory, with close readings of Marx, Freud, and Lacan. Having a solid theoretical footing, students come equipped, in the third section, to assess the work of seminal critical theorists of art, aesthetics, and visual and popular culture, including the Frankfurt School (Benjamin and Adorno), structuralism (Barthes), poststructuralism (Foucault), as well as contemporary critics of postmodernism (Jameson and Geeta Kapur).

The course’s fourth and final section puts theory into direct engagement with curatorial and art practices, at times inviting curators and artists to bring their studios, galleries, and museums to the classroom. In this final component, students will gain a window onto ‘the creative process’ through the oeuvres of select painters and architects, as well as video, performance, sound, and digital artists.

CTAP brings the very best faculty of scholars and practitioners from our city, India, Europe, and the Americas, those experienced in pedagogy that tacks between lecture, discussion, and close reading and seeing. Moreover, for students who wish to pursue aspects of the course more intensely, CTAP complements JPM’s postgraduate diploma course in Theoretical Foundations, which offers in-depth seminars on Marx, Freud, Structuralism, Interpretive Methods, Neoliberalism, and Postcolonial Theory.

CTAP students are introduced to ideas and thoughts that will allow them to develop and evolve their own academic research, writing, and professional interests in the visual arts world imaginatively and critically.

Reading is an important part of the course. Scholars have selected Required Reading for each session; this material is available on our online learning management portal, JPM Think.

Lecture Schedule

Section A - Foundations: Aesthetics

1 August 2018
Introduction to the Course
- Mr. Rohit Goel

7 August 2018
Aristotle's Poetics
- Dr. Siby K. George

8 August 2018
'What is Critical Theory, Aesthetics, and Practice? : Concepts and Methods
- Mr. Rohit Goel

16 August 2018
Key Ideas in Western Philosophy I: Kant
- Prof. Arun Iyer

21 August 2018
Key Ideas in Western Philosophy III: Nietzsche
- Prof. Pravesh Jung

22 August 2018
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

28 August 2018
Art History and the History of Art Criticism II - The Indian Context, from Coomaraswamy to Geeta Kapur
- Ms. Nancy Adajania

29 August 2018
Art History I – The Heaven of Ideas, the Floor of the Studio
- Mr. Ranjit Hoskote

04 September 2018
Art History II – From Winckelmann to Wolfflin: The Making of Art History
- Mr. Ranjit Hoskote


Section B - Foundations: Critical Theory

05 September 2018
Marx I – ‘Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844’ and the ‘The Communist Manifesto’
- Mr. Rohit Goel

18 September 2018
Marx II - ‘The Grundrisse’ and ‘Capital’
- Mr. Rohit Goel

19 September 2018
Time in Capitalism: EP Thompson
- Mr. Rohit Goel

25 September 2018
Space in Capitalism: Lefebvre
- Dr. Himanshu Burte

26 September 2018
- Mr. Rohit Goel

03 October 2018
Zizek: How did Marx Invent the Symptom?
- Mr. Rohit Goel

09 October 2018
Finance Capitalism I: Arrighi’s ‘Long Twentieth Century’
- Prof. Anush Kapadia

10 October 2018
Finance Capitalism II: Cultures of Late Capitalism
- Prof. Anush Kapadia


Section C - Critical Theory and Aesthetics

16 October 2018
Modernism: The Indian Context I – Richard Bartholomew
- Ms. Nancy Adajania

17 October 2018
Modernism: The Indian Context II - Geeta Kapur
- Ms. Alisha Sett

23 October 2018
Zizek: "How did Marx Invent the Symptom?" (Continued)
- Mr. Rohit Goel

24 October 2018
Art and Agency (class, caste, gender): From Chittaprosad to Navjot
- Ms. Nancy Adajania

30 October 2018
Benjamin – ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’
- Mr. Rohit Goel

31 October 2018
Adorno - ‘The Culture Industry’ and ‘The Regression of Listening’
- Mr. Rohit Goel

04 December 2018
Structuralism: Saussure and Barthes
- Mr. Rohit Goel

05 December 2018
Poststructuralism: The Later Foucault
- Prof. Arun Iyer

18 December 2018
‘Creative Processes’: Zarina Hashmi
- Ms. Sandhini Poddar

19 December 2018
Liberalism and its Indian Afterlife I
a) Intimacy and Interest in Indian Political Thought' and 'Gandhi Against the Human Race

- Dr. Faisal Devji

20 December 2018
Liberalism and its Indian Afterlife II
a) Godless Secularism: Europe, India and Religion' and 'Ambedkar's Politics: Democracy without Nationalism
- Dr. Faisal Devji

22 January 2018
Rethinking the Anthropocene
- Mr. Rohit Goel and Ms. Nida Ghouse

23 January 2018
From Museum Objects to Forensic Evidence
- Ms. Nida Ghouse

24 January 2018
Curatorial Processes: Parapolitics: Cultural Freedom and the Cold War
- Ms. Nida Ghouse


Section D: Process and Practice

29 January 2018
Acoustic Matters
- Ms. Nida Ghouse

30 January 2018
The Challenge of Critical Practice
- Dr. Himanshu Burte

05 February 2019
Creative Processes: Shilpa Gupta’s Studio
a) Walking on/off the Line
- Ms. Shilpa Gupta 

13 February 2019 - (4 hour lecture)
The Art World and its Institutions I + II
- Mr. Ranjit Hoskote

19 February 2019
The Boat is Leaking. The Captain Lied': Alexander Kluge, Thomas Demand, Anna Viebrock, Udo Kittelman     
- Ms. Alisha Sett

20 February 2019
A Short History of Indian Photography: Before and After Raghubir Singh
- Ms. Alisha Sett

26 February 2019
The Rigorous Practice of Freedom
a) The Body in Movement
- Ms. Padmini Chettur

27 February 2019
The Rigorous Practice of Freedom
a) Varnam
- Ms. Padmini Chettur

Days and Timing: Mainly Tuesdays & Wednesdays from 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Eligibility: Graduation Degree


  • A copy of your last degree certificate
  • Your CV
  • Two passport-sized photographs


01 May 2019 - 29 Feb 2020


Rs. 35,000
(PG Diploma)
Rs. 25,000
(PG Certificate)

Registrations Closed