CFP: EMSE 2023: Early Modern Sensory Encounters, Kellogg College, University of Oxford, 8-9 June 2023. Deadline: 15 January 2023

The University of Oxford and the Open University invite papers for our annual interdisciplinary Early Modern Sensory Experiences (EMSE) conference.

Interest in sensory experiences of the past has grown in recent years, with scholars engaging with both interdisciplinary and anthropological approaches in order to better understand historical lived experiences. This annual conference explores the visual, auditory, tactile, gustatory and/or olfactory elements of particular experiences across the globe between c.1400 and c.1700.

This year’s conference, ‘Sensory Encounters’, welcomes papers that consider sensory experiences as instances or reflections of cultural exchange and which discuss possible methodologies and approaches to this particular subject. Papers may engage with the following themes, amongst others:

  • Transcultural Sensory Experiences: how sensory experiences were integral to encounters and entanglements, with both productive and destructive results.
  • Senses and the City: how sensory experiences were encountered in the city, and how they may have contributed to cities as sites of cosmopolitanism.
  • Mobility and Circulation: How the movement of people, objects, practices and their associated sensorial experiences gave rise to the transfer of similar, or the development of new, sensory experiences. 
  • Subjectivity: How sensory experiences varied according to gender, social class, race or other perceptions of difference.

Papers are invited from scholars working in any discipline, including musicology, art history, cultural and/or social history, religious studies, and book history, on any geographic region between c.1400 and c.1700.

While we understand that scholars may naturally place emphasis on a particular sense or source as a reflection of their own disciplinary background, we encourage speakers to work across senses, sources and disciplines.

Speakers are encouraged to present work in progress and/or address methodological challenges faced in their research.

Please send a 150-word abstract along with a short biography to Leah Clark ( and Helen Coffey ( by 15 January 2023.

The conference will take place at Kellogg College, University of Oxford, on 8-9 June 2023.

This will be a face-to-face conference. Speakers should therefore ensure that they can attend in person.

Please note that we will not be able to cover travel or accommodation costs for speakers.


Published by Dr Julia Faiers

Julia Faiers received her PhD from the University of St Andrews in 2021. She wrote her thesis on the art patronage of Louis d’Amboise, bishop of Albi from 1474 to 1503, under the supervision of Professor Kathryn Rudy. Her postdoctoral research includes the nineteenth-century reception of medieval art and architecture, and late-medieval female art patronage in France. Julia gained a First Class Honours degree in art history at the University of St Andrews (1995). She won a British Academy Award to study for her MA in German Expressionism at The Courtauld under the supervision of Dr Shulamith Behr (1997), and spent almost twenty years working as a journalist before returning to academia in 2016.

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