CAN BEAUTY REALLY SAVE THE WORLD? THE BOOK WITH THE ZORDAN LECTURE BY SUSAN ROSS HAS JUST COME OUT

13 December 2021

Beauty matters in our lives, we know. But do aesthetics, particularly musical aesthetics, really have anything essential to offer to theological and ethical reflection? According to Susan Ross, there is no doubt. Using excerpts from opera (Dead Man Walking), spirituals, rap and hip hop, but also from the “music” produced by the animal world, particularly insects, the American theologian clearly explains how these varied artistic examples help people develop greater empathy for those on the margins of society, provoking resistance and protest against unjust suffering and a form of solidarity with all of creation. Although beauty alone will not save the world, the author argues, action without care for beauty and the arts will lead us to an impoverished future.

Table of Contents Foreword. Preface: Saving What Is Essential in a World that no longer Resonates (P. Costa). Can Beauty Really Save the World? 1. Beauty in Dark Times. 2. Beauty and Justice. 3. Capital Punishment and Dead Man Walking. 4. White Supremacy, Anti-Blackness, and the Arts. 5. Ecological Catastrophe and “Bug Music.” Concluding Remarks.