How Do Cross-Cultural Studies Impact Upon the Conventional Definition of Art?

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Stephen Davies Samer Akkach Meilin Chinn Enrico Fongaro Julie Nagam John Powell


While Stephen Davies argues that a debate on cross-cultural aesthetics is possible if we adopt an attitude of mutual respect and forbearance, his fellow symposiasts shed light upon different aspects which merit a closer scrutiny in such a dialogue. Samer Akkach warns that an inclusivistic embrace of difference runs the risk of collapsing the very difference one sought to understand. Julie Nagam underscores that local knowledge carriers and/or the medium should be involved in such a cross-cultural exploration. Enrico Fongaro searches for a way of experiencing cross-cultural art such that it can lead to a transformative experience Relatedly, Meilin Chinn uses the analogy of friendship to explore the edifying dimension of experiencing an art form. Lastly, John Powell studies whether Dickie’s Institutional Theory can be meaningfully used to identify works of art in Western and non-Western traditions.

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How to Cite
Davies, S., Akkach, S., Chinn, M., Fongaro, E., Nagam, J., & Powell, J. (2018). How Do Cross-Cultural Studies Impact Upon the Conventional Definition of Art?. Journal of World Philosophies, 3(1), 93-122. Retrieved from
Author Biographies

Stephen Davies

Stephen Davies is a former president of the American Society for Aesthetics. His most recent books are The Philosophy of Art (Wiley-Blackwell, 2016, 2nd edition), The Artful Species: Aesthetics, Art, and Evolution (OUP, 2012), and Musical Understandings and Other Essays on the Philosophy of Music (OUP 2011). He is a co-editor of A Companion to Aesthetics (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009) and of entries on aesthetics in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Samer Akkach

Samer Akkach is a professor of architectural history and theory at the School of Architecture and Built Environment, The University of Adelaide, and the founding director of the Centre for Asian and Middle Eastern Architecture (CAMEA). His work focuses on the intellectual history of Islam in the pre- and early-modern periods.  

Meilin Chinn

Meilin Chinn is an assistant professor of Philosophy at Santa Clara University. She specializes in Chinese Philosophy and Aesthetics. Her current research and writing focus on musical meaning and the senses, truth in music, and the question of change in early Chinese philosophy. Recent publications include “Only Music Cannot Be Faked (Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy, 2017) and the forthcoming “Music With and Without Images” (Journal of Chinese Philosophy, 2018).

Enrico Fongaro

Enrico Fongaro is an associate professor in the Art History Program in the Graduate School of Arts and Letters at Tohoku University in Sendai (Japan). After having studied philosophy at Padua University (Italy), he received Japan’s Ministry of Education Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Scholarship to study in Japan at Kyoto Institute of Technology.

Julie Nagam

Dr. Julie Nagam (Métis Anishinaabe/French, German/Syrian) is the Chair of the History of Indigenous Art in North America, a joint appointment between the University of Winnipeg and the Winnipeg Art Gallery. She is an associate professor in the faculty of History and has recently published Traveling soles: Tracing the footprints of our stolen sisters (2017); Deciphering the refusal of the digital and binary codes of sovereignty/self-determination and civilized/savage (2016); and be polite.... because the settlers might be listening and watching (2016). Her current project, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), is The Transactive Memory Keepers: Indigenous Public Engagement in Digital and New Media Labs and Exhibitions ( Nagam hosted and organized the Future is Indigenous ( and the International Indigenous curators exchange. She is co-editor of Indigenous Art: New Media and the Digital, a special issue of PUBLIC Journal. Currently, Dr. Nagam is curating a public art installation for a Reconciliation Walk at The Forks in Winnipeg and leading a team that is creating an Indigenous app for Winnipeg’s art, architectural, and place-based history. She has co-curated with Jaimie Isaac INSURGENCE/RESURGENCE. Her artwork and research has been shown nationally and internationally.

John Powell

John Powell is a visiting research fellow at the School of Architecture and Built Environment, The University of Adelaide. His backgrounds in music, philosophy, and landscape architecture all inform his researches into art gardens.