Stephen Snyder

Stephen Snyder specializes in the philosophy of art and social and political philosophy. His research interests lie in examining the role that history and culture play in the transformation of aesthetic communication. His book, End-of-Art Philosophy in Hegel, Nietzsche and Danto, which critically examines the historical relationship of art to philosophy, was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2018. Also in 2018, De Gruyter Press published New Perspectives on Distributive Justice, a volume of essays on political philosophy that he co-edited. His recent essays appear in ROAR Magazine, Michael Walzer: Sphären der Gerechtigkeit: Ein kooperativer Kommentar, Philosophy in the Contemporary World, CounterText and Croatian Journal of Philosophy. In 2018 he was a Fulbright Scholar in the Republic of Georgia, researching images of resistance in early medieval art. He is currently a visiting assistant professor at Boğaziçi University in Istanbul.

Art can by no means counteract force directly. But likewise, force cannot directly divert an aesthetic expression.

The wave of demonstrations that developed out of the Gezi Park sit-ins manifested a form of aesthetic creativity that employed transvaluation and displacement in a way that set them apart from other protests in Turkey and the Arab world. Transvaluation and displacement were arguably among the primary forces that drove the protests following the forceful breakup of the Gezi Park sit-ins. The protests began when police forcefully removed sleeping demonstrators from Gezi Park. To most observers, the police use of violence to clear the park was deemed disproportionate, and the resistance countered the tear gas, truncheons, water cannons, and detentions with a level of aesthetic intensity that surprised detractors as well as supporters. The primary aim of the movement was to protect a park in the center of Istanbul, but the resistance represented a broad coalition of those who opposed what they perceived as the autocratic ruling style of then Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. They ranged from anti-capitalist Muslims to students who simply opposed the Prime Minister’s Islamification of the Turkish public sphere. Examining the way in which transvalution and displacement were used as a response to the force employed by riot police at the direction of the Turkish government shows how political art was employed effectively in the Gezi Park protests.

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