Much of my research has focused on the aesthetic beauty of immovable cultural heritage (such as ruins), and our ethical obligation to cultural heritage. In my work on ruins, I provide an account for the aesthetic appreciation of ruins, one which encompasses ruins of antiquity to contemporary industrial ruins (e.g., the former Packard Plant in Detroit, MI). I argue that if we see ruins as in the process of decay, and we have good reasons to respect the aesthetic integrity of ruins, we ought to allow a ruin to ruinate. Paradoxically then, to “preserve” the special aesthetic value of a ruin, we must allow it to decay. Offshoots of this project have been published in the Journal of Aesthetic and Art Criticism (“Unimagined Beauty“), ARCADE (“Authenticity in Ruins”), and The Journal of Applied Philosophy (“Visiting the Ruins of Detroit“). My recent blog post(politicalphilosopher.net) about ruins of war can be found here. My interest in providing practical arguments for the preservation of immovable cultural heritage has given rise to a related interest in the ethics of travel and tourism. This, I believe, is an underdeveloped area of applied ethics.
I am a self-professed failed musician and successful film buff. I spent eight years as a volunteer 35mm projectionist and outreach coordinator at the Grand Illusion Cinema in Seattle, Washington and was the manager at the Clinton Street Theater in Portland, Oregon (the longest continuous running Rocky Horror Picture Show in the world!). When not projecting at arthouse cinemas or butchering jazz flute, you may find me working on various political campaigns in the area or devouring fiction on my e-reader (academic texts in physical print only, please).
I can be contacted at lizscar [at] gmail.com