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Ransom Awarded ASA Dissertation Fellowship for 2017-18

Friday, February 17, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Julie Van Camp
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The American Society for Aesthetics is pleased to announce that Madeleine Ransom, University of British Columbia, has been awarded the ASA Dissertation Fellowship for 2017-18. Her dissertation is entitled: “The Expert Eye: how perceptual expertise can help us determine the contents of perception.”

Nine applications were received this year. The selection was made by a committee of three distinguished senior ASA members, who noted that this was an exceptionally strong group of applicants. "The future of aesthetics is bright," remarked one. The award is for $25,000, plus an additional $5,000 for tuition and fees.

This is the third year that ASA has awarded a Dissertation Fellowship. The previous winners:

  • David Johnson, Northwestern University (2015-16)
  • Marilynn Johnson [no relation], CUNY Graduate Center (2016-17)

The deadline to apply for the Dissertation Fellowship for 2018-19 will be January 1, 2018. ASA student members enrolled in doctoral programs in North America are eligible. Guidelines are here.

This is the abstract for Ransom's dissertation:

What does the aesthetic expert have that the novice does not? One component of expertise may be perceptual, involving a change in what we are able to perceive. Experts develop the ability to taste some subtle flavors of a wine, or hear minute variations in pitch imperceptible to the novice. More controversially, they perceive that a painting is garish, beautiful, or a Picasso. In this dissertation I defend the perceptual expertise thesis: through perceptual learning aesthetic experts come to perceive high-level properties imperceptible to novices. This provides the foundation needed for a theory of aesthetic perception, and reconciles a puzzle in aesthetic concerning our critical practices.

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