Monique Roelofs is Professor of Philosophy of Art and Culture at the University of Amsterdam. Her research explores the relation between aesthetics and politics, with a special focus on the dynamics of race, gender, nation, coloniality, and the global. She is the author of Arts of Address: Being Alive to Language and The World (Columbia UP, 2020) and The Cultural Promise of the Aesthetic (2014). Roelofs has recently completed a new book manuscript, Aesthetics, Address, and the Politics of Culture. She is also coauthoring a book on aesthetics and temporality in Latinx and Latin America and coediting the collection Black Art and Aesthetics: Relationalities, Interiorities, Reckonings (2023; under contract with Bloomsbury).
Her work stretches across the areas of feminist and critical race theory, decolonial thought, and critical and political theory, and takes an interest in the intersection of continental and analytical traditions. At the forefront of her research are conceptual structures in aesthetics and critical cultural theory that undergird aesthetic life, such as questions of publicity, identity, normativity, critical reading, and the relations between art and its audiences. She addresses these themes in engagement with the complexities of aesthetic experience as it takes shape in our day-to-day encounters within and beyond the world of art.
Having taught for many years at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, she has held fellowships and visiting appointments in The Pembroke Center for Teaching and Women at Brown University and the Political Science Department at Amherst College. Roelofs served as a Trustee of the American Society for Aesthetics from 2019-22. At the University of Amsterdam, she codirects the ASCA Film-Philosophy seminar and heads the Critical Cultural Theory program group.
Arts of Address: Being Alive to Language and The World (New York: Columbia University Press, 2020)
The Cultural Promise of the Aesthetic (New York: Bloomsbury, 2014; paperback 2015)
Black Art and Aesthetics: Relationalities, Interiorities, Reckonings, coedited with Michael Kelly. Bloomsbury, 2023. Under contract.
Aesthetics and Race: New Philosophical Perspectives, special volume 2 (2009) of Contemporary Aesthetics. Eleven essays, edited and with an introduction.
“Decoloniality, Identity, and Aesthetic Publicity.” Contemporary Aesthetics, Special Volume 10 (2022). Forthcoming, Oct. 2022. contempaesthetics.org.
"Kara Walker: A Black Hole is Everything a Star Longs to Be.” The British Journal of Aesthetics. Forthcoming.
“Identity, Art, and the Aesthetic Effusiveness of Racialized Possibility,” in Public Art: The Right to Remember and the Reality of Cities, ed. Gürsoy Doğtaş and Jörg Heiser (Berlin: Distanz Verlag). Forthcoming.
“Here and There: The Pillars and Sounds of Carpentier’s Havana,” Palgrave Encyclopedia of Urban Literary Studies, ed. Jeremy Tambling (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2022). With Norman S. Holland. In press.
“Address and the Politics of Aesthetics,” Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy (New York: Routledge, 2021). DOI 10.4324/9780415249126-M069-1
“Philosophy and the Politics of Beauty,” in The Routledge Handbook of Beauty Politics, ed. Maxine B. Craig (New York: Routledge, 2021), 37-48.
“Playing with the Rules of the Game: Imagination, Normativity, and Address in Aesthetics,” in Art, Representation, and Make-Believe: Essays on the Philosophy of Kendall L. Walton, ed. Sonia Sedivy (New York: Routledge, 2021), 302-23.
“Selling Literature / Selling the Race: Diamela Eltit’s Decolonial Feminist Critique of the Neoliberal Marketplace,” Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 77, no. 4 (2019): 461-73.
"A New Aesthetics of Conviviality." Flash Art 327, “Reclaiming and Celebrating Minorities,” Sept-Oct. 2019: 28-35. Online version: https://flash---art.com/article/a-new-aesthetics-of-conviviality/
"Estética, endereçamento e ‘sutilezas’ raciais" (Aesthetics, Address, and Racial “Subtleties”). In Estética em preto e branco (Aesthetics in Black and White), ed. Carla Milani Damião and Fábio Ferreira de Almeida (Goiânia, Goiás, Brazil: Edições Ricochete&CEGRAF/UFG, 2018), 8-34.
“Race-ing Aesthetic Theory.” The Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Race, ed. Paul C. Taylor, Linda Martín Alcoff, and Luvell Anderson (New York: Routledge, 2018), 365-79.
"Colheres, portas, ruas e pessoas como remetentes e destinatários. Estética e seus diversos locais denormatividade" (Spoons, Doors, Streets, and People as Addressors and Addressees: Aesthetics and Its Many Sites of Normativity). Rapsódia: Almanaque de filosofia e arte 11 (2017): 44-77.
“Identity and Its Public Platforms: A String of Promises Entwined with Threats” / “Identität und ihre öffentlichen Plattformen: Versprechen und Drohungen.” Texte zur Kunst 27, no. 107, “Identity Politics Now/Identitätspolitik Heute.” In English and German (Sept. 2017): 68-85.
Review essay of Paul C. Taylor’s Black is Beautiful: A Philosophy of Black Aesthetics (Wiley, 2016). Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 73, no. 3 (2017): 299-302. 10.1111/jaac12373.
"Between Justice and Cruelty: The Ambivalence of the Aesthetic." Aesthetic Turns 2.2, ed. Roger Rothman, Modernism/modernity, M/m Print Plus platform (June 2017) https://modernismmodernity.org/forums/posts/between-justice-and-cruelty
“Navigating Frames of Address: María Lugones on Language, Bodies, Things, and Places.” Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy 31.2 (2016): 370-87. Cluster on Latina Feminist Philosophy. DOI 10.1111/hypa.12233
"The Aesthetic and Its Resonances: A Reply to Kathleen M. Higgins, Carolyn Korsmeyer, and Mariana Ortega." In Symposium on The Cultural Promise of the Aesthetic by Monique Roelofs. Contemporary Aesthetics 14 (2016). contempaesthetics.org.
“Kantian Mouthliness: Enlightenment, Address, Aesthetics.” differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies 26.2 (2015): 29-60. DOI 10.1215/10407391-3145949
“Anachronism and Baroque Abandon: Carpentier’s, Cortázar’s, and Botero’s Decolonial Columns.” (First author; with Norman Holland). Confluencia: Revista Hispánica de Cultura y Literatura 30, no. 3 (2015): 149-66.
“Anti-Aesthetic.” Encyclopedia of Aesthetics, 2nd edition, ed. Michael Kelly (Oxford University Press, 2014).
“Cruising through Race.” Race, Philosophy, and Film, ed. Mary K. Bloodsworth-Lugo and Dan Flory (New York: Routledge, 2013), 84-100.
“Taste, Distaste, and Food.” Encyclopedia of Food and Agricultural Ethics, ed. Paul B. Thompson and David M. Kaplan (Dordrecht: Springer, 2014), 1719-27. (Online version, 2013). DOI 10.1007/978-94-007-6167-4
“Beauty’s Relational Labor.” Beauty Unlimited, ed. Peg Zeglin Brand (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2012), 72-95.
“Racialization as an Aesthetic Production: What Does the Aesthetic Do for Whiteness and Blackness and ViceVersa?” Reprinted in The Philosophy of Race, ed. Paul Taylor, Vol. 3. Race-ing Beauty, Goodness, and Right (New York: Routledge, 2012), 291-327
Review essay of Gail Day’s Dialectical Passions: Negation in Postwar Art Theory (Columbia UP, 2011). Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews. June 2011.
“Theorizing the Aesthetic Homeland: Racialized Aesthetic Nationalism in Daily Life and the Art World.” Constructing the Nation: A Race and Nationalism Reader, ed. Mariana Ortega and Linda Martín Alcoff (Albany: SUNY Press, 2009), 201-30.
Introduction to Aesthetics and Race: New Philosophical Perspectives, Special Volume 2 (2009) of Contemporary Aesthetics, ed. Monique Roelofs. contempaesthetics.org.
"Sensation as Civilization: Reading/Riding the Taxicab." Aesthetics and Race: New Philosophical Perspectives, Special Volume 2 (2009) of Contemporary Aesthetics, ed. Monique Roelofs. contempaesthetics.org.
“Race and Aesthetics.” Blackwell Companion to Aesthetics, 2nd edition, ed. Stephen Davies, Kathleen Higgins, Robert Hopkins, and Robert Stecker (Malden, MA and Oxford: Blackwell, 2009), 489-92.
Review essay of Alexander Nehamas’s Only a Promise of Happiness: The Place of Beauty in a World of Art (Princeton University Press, 2007). Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 66, no. 4 (Fall 2008): 399-401.
"The Veiled Presence of Race in the Philosophy of Art: Reclaiming Race for Aesthetics." APA Newsletter on Philosophy and the Black Experience 6, no. 1 (Fall 2006): 1-5. apaonline.org. (A slightly modified and more fully documented version of “Culture, Capital, History, but not Race?”).
"Culture, Capital, History, but not Race?" Voices of the Profession column. Newsletter of the American Society for Aesthetics 26, no. 2 (Summer 2006): 1-4. Also at aesthetics-online.org.
“Racialization as an Aesthetic Production: What Does the Aesthetic Do for Whiteness and Blackness and Vice Versa?” White on White/Black on Black, ed. George Yancy (Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield, 2005), 83-124.
“A Pearl’s Perils and Pleasures: The Detail at the Foundation of Taste.” The Lure of the Detail: Critical Reading Today. Special Issue of differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies 14, no. 3 (2003): 57-88.
“Aesthetification as a Feminist Strategy: On Art’s Relational Politics.” Art and Essence, ed. Stephen Davies and Ananta Ch. Sukla (Westport: Praeger, 2003), 193-212.
“Relationality without Relationships: Kitsch, Idolatry, and other Paradoxes in Aesthetics and Religion.” Religion “nach der Religionskritik” (Religion “After the Critique of Religion”). Wiener Reihe: Themen der Philosophy, Band 12, ed. Ludwig Nagl (Vienna and Berlin: R. Oldenbourg Verlag and Akademie Verlag, 2003), 263-73.
“A Hypothesis about Seeing-in.” Richard Wollheim on the Art of Painting: Art as Representation and Expression, ed. Rob van Gerwen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 59-74.