University of Western Ontario - Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Arts

Program

Theory and Criticism

Supervisor

Mark F. N. Franke

Abstract

This thesis project emphasizes the element of history as an important factor in the concepts of politics and aesthetics that are suggested by Jacques Rancière. Rancière has received a series of criticism that his work operates at too great a remove from the actual materials of experience, and so this discussion acts as an answer to that criticism through a re-examination of his concept of the distribution of the sensible and his writing on politics and aesthetics. The focus of this discussion oscillates between the broader aspects of the aesthetics of politics and the politics of aesthetics, though its primary focus is on literature. By including a recognition for the historical as a material for the political, this discussion is then offered as a helpful suggestion to reposition both Rancière's own thoughts and the criticisms that have been raised towards him.