The Embodied Senses

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Thursday evening, Friday and Saturday, 25 to 27 May

"Things," wrote Montaigne, "are sensed through the understanding, understood through the senses." However, the nature, value, and reliability of sensory experience was a constant preoccupation in early modern culture. Debates about its character and the extent to which it can be expressed and communicated continue to this day. A growing body of recent scholarship seeks to historicize precisely what the senses do offer; this symposium considers ways to reconstruct how early modern people lived, felt, and sensed their way through life. Contributions are sought from those working on and developing all the ways of thinking about the embodied senses, sensory embodiment, and the evocation and reconstruction of sensory perception between c.1500 and c.1750. Relevant intellectual fields and approaches include early modern natural philosophy, religion, neuroscience, performance theory, selfhood, habitus, and re-enactment; artistic creation and performance (including a variety of media); modes of encounter with the world (including touch, infection, erotics, and eating); forms of expertise relating to the senses (including commerce, midwifery, healing, service, and technology); and sensory reception and retrieval (including seeing, hearing, reading, remembering, and feeling).

Please direct any questions to institute@folger.edu.

Provisional Schedule

Unless otherwise specified, all sessions take place in the Folger Board Room

Thursday, 25 May 2017

5:30 pm

Opening reception (FR)

6:30-7:30

Embodying Senses
Bruce Smith, University of Southern California
Laura Gowing, King’s College, London
Mark Jenner, University of York

Friday, 26 May 2017

9:00 am

Coffee and pastries

9:25

Welcoming Remarks
Owen Williams, Folger Institute

9:30

Sin and Sensation
Elizabeth Harvey, University of Toronto
Matthew Milner

11:00

Coffee Break

11:30

Accumulation and Play
Shigehisa Kuriyama, Harvard University
Joe Moshenska, Trinity College, Cambridge

1:00-2:30 pm

Lunch on your own (suggestions provided in folders)

2:30

Impersonating Voices
Richard Wistreich, Royal College of Music, London
Performers:
John Armato
Louis Butelli
Emily Noël

4:00

Tea Break

4:30

Music and Silence
Amy Cook, Stony Brook University
Simon Smith, University of Birmingham

Saturday, 27 May 2017

9:00 am

Coffee and Pastries

9:30

Sound, Smell, Space
Niall Atkinson, University of Chicago
Holly Dugan, The George Washington University

11:00

Coffee Break

11:30

Signs and Senses
Mary Fissell, The Johns Hopkins University
Lauren Kassell, Pembroke College, Cambridge University

1:00-2:30 pm

Lunch on your own (suggestions provided in folders)

2:30

Calibrating Subjectivity and Objectivity
Carla Mazzio, University at Buffalo, SUNY
Steven Shapin, Harvard University

4:00

Closing Session

5:30

Reception (Founders’ Room, Folger Shakespeare Library)