The Attractions of Disgust

O'Neil Lecture

Speaker: Maria Heim, Amherst College

When: Mar 21, 2019 - 05:00pm - 07:00pm

Where: Bobo Room, Hodgin Hall



This talk explores two ancient Indian theoretical treatments of the pushes and pulls of disgust. The first is from a secular theorist on aesthetics and dramaturgy (Bharata), who theorizes the refinement of disgust into the aesthetic savoring of the macabre. The second is the Buddhist thinker Buddhaghosa's program of meditation exercises on loathsome objects, and their therapeutic and liberating benefits. The paper shows how both thinkers advance sophisticated programs to cultivate disgust, aesthetically and contemplatively, and considers what disgust teaches us about who we are.