Per Israelson


Visa sidan på svenska
Works at Department of Culture and Aesthetics
Telephone 08-674 70 05
Postal address Institutionen för kultur och estetik 106 91 Stockholm

About me

PhD 2017: "Ecologies of the Imagination: Theorizing the participatory aesthetics of the fantastic"

Since 2018 working on the postdoc project "Postdigital comics: Participation and materiality in contemporary Swedish comic books", funded by Ridderstads stiftelse för historisk grafisk forskning.

Critic, lecturer, and freelance writer.


A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2017. Per Israelson, Anders Cullhed, Marcel O'Gorman.

    This book is about the participatory aesthetics of the fantastic. In it, the author argues that the definition of the fantastic presented by Tzvetan Todorov in 1970 can be used, provided it is first adapted to a media-ecological framework, to theorize the role of aesthetic participation in the creation of secondary worlds. Working within a hermeneutical tradition, Todorov understands reader participation as interpretation, in which the creative ambiguities of the literary object are primarily epistemological. However, it is here argued that the aesthetic object of the fantastic is also characterized by material ambiguity.

    The purpose of this dissertation is then to present a conceptual framework with which to theorize the relation between the material and the epistemological ambiguity of the fantastic. It is argued that such a framework can be found in an ecological understanding of aesthetic participation. This, in turn, entails understanding human subjectivity as a process always already embodied in a material environment. To this extent, the proposed theoretical framework questions the clear and oppositional distinction between form and matter, as well as that between mind and body, nature and culture, and human and non-human, on which a modern and humanist notion of subjectivity is based. And in this sense, the basic ecological assumptions of this dissertation are posthumanist, or non-humanist. From this position, it is argued that an ecological understanding of participation offers a means to reformulate the function of a number of concepts central to studying the aesthetics of the fantastic, most notably the concepts of media, genre and text. As the fantastic focuses on the creation of other worlds, it is an aesthetics of coming into being, of ontogenesis. Accordingly, it will be argued that the participatory aesthetics of the fantastic operationalizes the ontogenesis of media, genres and texts.

    By mapping the ontogenesis of three distinct media ecologies – the media ecology of fantasy and J. R. R. Tolkien’s secondary world Middle-earth; the media ecology of the American comic book superhero Miracleman; and the media ecology of William Blake – this book argues that the ecological imagination generates world.

    Per Israelson has been a doctoral candidate in the Research School of Studies in Cultural History at the department of Culture and Aesthetics, Stockholm University. Ecologies of the Imagination is his dissertation.

  • 2017. Per Israelson. Samtida svensk ungdomslitteratur, 109-125
  • 2017. Per Israelson. Barnboken 40
  • Chapter Mörka medier
    2017. Per Israelson. De tecknade seriernas språk, 198-215
  • 2017. Per Israelson.
  • 2016. Per Israelson. Barnboken 39
  • 2014. Per Israelson. Barnboken 7
  • Article Tinget i dig.
    2013. Per Israelson. Tidskrift för litteraturvetenskap (2), 73-82
  • Chapter Unnam'd Forms
    2013. Per Israelson. Making cultural history, 97-106
  • 2018. Per Israelson. Barnboken 41

    The ethical and epistemological challenges accompanying representations of the past have been at the center of historiography at least since the days of Leopold von Ranke in the mid-nineteenth century. The artific eof representational forms, as well as the ideological entanglements of the position of enunciation, has always been in conflict with Ranke’s historio- graphical goal of telling the past as “it really was”. In the heyday of postmodernism and in the wake of the so-called linguistic turn, the epistemological and ethical impact of representational forms was widely debated. This paper uses two concepts presented during the postmodernist debates – Linda Hutcheon’s “historiographical metafiction” and Hayden White’s “practical past” – in a discussion of two graphic narratives about the Holocaust, Art Spiegelman’s canonical Maus. A Survivor’s Tale (1991) and Vi kommer snart hem igen (2018) by Jessica Bab Bonde and Peter Bergting. Adapting Hutcheon’s and White’s concepts to a posthumanist and media-ecological conceptuality, in which the worldmaking power of media is highlighted as a co-productive or sympoietic process, the paper “Picturing Pastness. Comics, Media Ecology and Memory in Maus and Vi kommer snart hem igen” shows how the past is not represented, but rather emerges from the embodied participation in the medium as memory technology.

Show all publications by Per Israelson at Stockholm University

Last updated: January 7, 2019

Bookmark and share Tell a friend