Tag Archives: Touch

CFP: Pilgrimage and the Senses, University of Oxford, 7 June 2019

videoblocks-pilgrims-at-the-church-of-the-holy-sepulchre-in-jerusalem-4k-time-lapse_sgz21h1jqf_thumbnail-full01

Deadline for submissions: 20 January 2019 

Keynote Speaker: Professor Kathryn Rudy (University of St. Andrews)

With the release of its inaugural issue in 2006, The Senses and Society journal proclaimed a “sensual revolution” in the humanities and social sciences. The ensuing decade has seen a boom in sensory studies, resulting in research networks, museum exhibitions, and a wealth of publications. This interdisciplinary conference hosted at the University of Oxford aims to shed light on how sensory perception shapes and is shaped by the experience of pilgrimage across cultures, faith traditions, and throughout history.

Pilgrimages present an intriguing paradox. Grounded in physical experiences—a journey (real or imagined), encounters with sites and/or relics, and commemorative tokens—they also simultaneously demand a devotional focus on the metaphysical. A ubiquitous and long-lasting devotional practice, pilgrimage is a useful lens through which to examine how humans encounter the sacred through the tools of perception available to us. Focusing on the ways in which pilgrimage engages the senses will contribute to our knowledge of how people have historically understood both religious experience and their bodies as vehicles of devotional participation. We call on speakers to grapple with the challenges of understanding the sensory experience of spiritual phenomena, while bearing in mind that understandings of the senses can vary according to specific cultural contexts. While the five senses are a natural starting point, we are open to including papers that deal with “sense” in a more general way, such as senses of time and place.

Sample topics may include (but are not limited to):

  • the role of beholding (places, relics, miracles, mementos) in the pilgrimage experience
  • haptic encounters with relics
  • ways in which pilgrims are seen: wearing specific clothing and/or badges, public acts (or affects) of devotion, how pilgrims are depicted or described
  • pilgrims’ auditory expressions: wailing/crying, chanting, singing, reciting prayers
  • bathing and purification in preparation for devotions
  • food as a ritual element or means of experiencing cultures along a pilgrimage route
  • the place of music on the pilgrimage route and/or at pilgrimage destinations
  • pain as a facet of the pilgrimage journey
  • the sensory spectacle—visual, auditory, olfactory—of pilgrimage processions
  • devotional objects that require handling, such as prayer beads and prayer wheels
  • psychosomatic sensory experiences as a means of engaging with the divine
  • the evocation of sensory participation through works of art and/or written accounts

The organisers invite 20-minute papers from any discipline on topics related to the themes outlined above, especially in the fields of anthropology, archaeology, art history, history, literature, musicology, religious studies, sociology, and theology. We welcome submissions relating to aspects of pilgrimage of any faith or historical period. Doctoral students and early career researchers are particularly encouraged to apply.

Please submit a title, abstract (max. 250 words), and brief bio to pilgrimagesenses2019@gmail.com by January 20th. Successful applicants will be notified by February 5th. All submissions and papers must be in English.

Click here for more information

Call for Papers: The Senses and Visual Culture from Antiquity to the Renaissance (Bristol, 8-9 June 2015)

1920295_10101429075333985_729639212555295849_n[1]Where does the recent sensory turn in the Arts and Humanities leave the study of Visual Culture? Can the viewer/object model incorporate the full sensorium without imposing ocularcentrism? How has vision’s relation to the other senses been expressed and explored through the visual arts from Antiquity to the Early Modern Period? How have the senses and sensory experience been represented in art before the Modern era?

This conference will explore the complex relationship between the visual and the sensory in contemporary theory and ancient practice. It will investigate the ways that art, from icons to illuminated manuscripts, music to architecture, and poetry to theatre, acted as a space for thinking about sensory experience, and for representing sensory ideas and theories. It will bring together scholars from a range of fields, including Classics and Ancient History, Medieval and Byzantine Studies, Musicology, Museum Studies and the History of Art, to explore these questions in the context of different historical periods and cultures, and in terms of politics, religion, philosophy, and society in the pre-Modern era.

We invite abstracts of 300 words for papers including but not limited to the following themes:

  • The role of the visual;
  • The non-visual senses and the reception of visual culture;
  • Embodied interaction with apparently visual art;
  • The use of ancient sensory theory in later practice;
  • Representations of sensory experience;
  • The difference between Eastern and Western European traditions in terms of ideas about the senses and how they are represented;
  • Displaying historical sensory experiences in museum settings;
  • The future of visual culture studies of pre-modern Europe.

Papers will be 20 minutes long, with 10 minutes for discussion. The conference will be held 8th-9th June 2015 at the University of Bristol, UK. Please send abstracts and CVs to the organisers, Erica O’Brien and Heather Hunter-Crawley at sensesvisualculture@gmail.com, by 10th April 2015. For further information and updates, please see the conference website: sensesandvisualculture.wordpress.com