Cuteness is a powerful affective register whose social proliferation since the turn of the millennium has been striking. The papers in this workshop bring together cuteness and the social, political, economic, and technological conditions of the early 21st century.
While the work of writers such as Daniel Harris, Lori Merish, Christine Yano, and Sianne Ngai has helped to increase our understanding of the aesthetic impact of cuteness by highlighting the power imbalance between the spectator and the cute object, the forms and functions of cuteness still need further explication, particularly as cute regimes proliferate shared affective responses through an increasing variety of media platforms and real-world events and situations.
The Aesthetics and Affects of Cuteness project aims to consolidate existing studies of cuteness and to extend the scope of scholarship in this realm with a particular view toward globally encompassing representational and cultural developments. Tracing how vectors of age, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, nationality, and species shape (and are shaped through) cuteness, this book also addresses a range of vehicles for the expression and consumption of cuteness including local and globalizing developments in fashion, performance art, (sub)cultures, toys, games, social media, internet memes, television, movies, stand-up comedy, YouTube videos, and mobile apps, as a means of further understanding this ubiquitous aesthetic and the affects that inform it.