We are pleased to announce that registration for ‘Enlightenment senses? Eighteenth-Century Sensoriums Theory and Experience’ is now open. This one day conference on the senses in the eighteenth-century will be held at King’s College London, Guy’s Campus, on June 13th 2014. Please see below for information about the conference and registration.
The senses mattered a great deal in the eighteenth-century. Sensibility, sympathy, and Lockean subject theory were all overwhelming concerned with the senses, and ‘The Enlightenment’ is often seen as a crucial breaking point in how we have historically understood and used our senses. Historical narratives that stress the increased value placed on the rationality of vision and the primacy of touch over the eighteenth-century – gaining prominence over the sense of smell as a method of evaluation – are much contested today. Scholars such as Foucault, Horkheimer and Adorno, and Lucien Febvre have emphasized the manifold changes in the way the senses were thought about and used during the Enlightenment. At a broader level Mark Smith has stated that
‘In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the senses informed the emergence of social classes, race and gender conventions, industrialization, urbanization, colonialism, imperialism, nationalism, ideas concerning selfhood and “other,” to list the most obvious developments typically associated with the “modern” era.’ (Mark Smith, Sensing The Past, Berg, 2007, p.1)
This one-day conference aims to bring together those concerned with the social and cultural history of the senses in the period from 1650-1790 as well as those working on literary or intellectual histories of the senses in an attempt to encourage a more active dialogue between these areas. The conference aims to link ‘sensory histories’, concerned with embodied sensory experience and representation, with ‘histories of the senses’ in which the intellectual and medical understandings of the senses are foregrounded. Panels will include ‘Describing Sensory Experience’, ‘Illness and the Senses’, ‘Race and the Senses’, ‘Music and the Senses’, ‘Inner Senses and Emotions’ and a keynote roundtable on the senses in the eighteenth-century . The detailed program will be announced shortly.
The deadline for registration is the 7th of June 2014.