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Martha and the Masters: Virtuous Domestic Aesthetic Activity

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In this essay, I draw Karen Stohr’s work on the moral-aesthetic elements of hospitality into conversation with classical Confucianism. While the early Confucians would not deny the other-regarding elements of hospitality Stohr emphasizes, they also notably highlight the ways exercises in taste and skillful aesthetic activity can work on and for the agent herself, providing a sensibility that can guard domestic aesthetic activity against problematic forms of self-sacrifice and alienated labor that color contemporary gendered representations of the home and its activity. The most robustly virtuous and indeed rewarding versions of hospitality and domestic aesthetic activity, I argue, will link self to environment and work, using both as mechanisms that foster wider values the self prizes and endorses.

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Correspondence to Amy Olberding.

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Olberding, A. Martha and the Masters: Virtuous Domestic Aesthetic Activity. Dao 15, 257–271 (2016).

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