Speaker: Professor Tim Mehigan, German Discipline, School of Languages and Cultures, UQ

Tim ranges widely in his research, teaching and administration across many areas of the humanities. Much of his research is developed from a focus on connections between literature and philosophy. In German literature, where this focus is particularly prominent, Tim has contributed several monographs and collections on Heinrich von Kleist and Robert Musil and provided the first English translation of K.L. Reinhold’s Essay on the Human Capacity for Representation (1789).

Recent studies and collaborations have been devoted to Schiller and Goethe and to extensive project-focused work on hermeneutics and narrative ethics. Other work includes two collections on the South African-Australian writer J.M. Coetzee. A monograph on Coetzee and a co-edited collection on Schiller’s philosophical writings are in preparation.

Title: Centre of Excellence for Aesthetic Education


“Aesthetic education,” a term first used by Friedrich Schiller in 1795, can be defined as a type of learning centring on the question of aesthetic quality. The chief advantage of aesthetic education is the opportunity it affords to combine mind and emotion, cognition and sensory experience, analysis and intuition in any context of learning directed at understanding something as a whole. This activity is “critical” insofar as it is carried out on the basis of critique, a capacity or intelligence which can be mastered over time. Development of the capacity for critical judgment on which aesthetic education depends is one of the main tasks the humanities aim to accomplish in the modern university. 

This talk examines the case for a Centre of Excellence for Aesthetic Education. The timeliness of, and rationale for, such a CoE does not only relate to the current crisis of the humanities in Australian universities. It is also related to the problem of education in our schools, about which there is already an abundant literature and to which recent PISA results of Australian school students give added testimony. As the talk proposes, a broadly applied program of aesthetic education linking the problems in school education to those in our universities has the capacity not only to address the current crisis in education, but also to deliver significant benefits beyond the sphere of education to Australian society as a whole. 

About Studies in Culture Seminar Series

Through the scholarly analysis of many different kinds of cultural products, texts and phenomena, Studies in Culture brings together researchers who seek to understand how the world is understood differently by people coming from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Researchers in this cluster work on literature, film, music, theatre, the visual arts, intangible heritage, testimonies and historical narratives.

Research in Studies in Culture within the School centres around four broad sub-themes of Heritage, memory and trauma studies; Intellectual and cultural history; Literature; and Film and visual cultures.

To view more on the research and interests of the Studies in Culture cluster, please click here.


Zoom ID Number 92019301075