College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences Theses and Dissertations

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monstrosity, sovereignty, aesthetics, power, penitentiary


This project analyzes the concepts of social defense and enmity by focusing on the aesthetics and politics of monstrosity. Three main historical figures of monstrosity, the Monster of Ravenna, Marie Antoinette, and Henriette Cornier, are analyzed through the Foucauldian framework of power and visibility, and brought in dialogue with figures such as Jean Bodin and Immanuel Kant in order to elaborate the mechanisms of defense operative in their conceptual foundations. Throughout, it is argued that mechanisms of social defense function in relation to the formation of aesthetic regimes. Biopolitical social defense, specifically, works as an assemblage construed through a model of vision that aims to understand its object as a bearer of an hidden interior space, which is infiltrated by threats. What is achieved in this interiorization is not simply the regulation of threats, but also the active production of them, and moreover, the production of an assemblage that is defined by its relation to these threats.

Available for download on Saturday, July 08, 2028