Ephemeral Relics: Approaches to the Five Senses in the Ancient World
Deadline, December 15, 2012
The Center for Ancient Studies at the University of Pennsylvania invites submissions for its 2013 Graduate Conference. Scheduled for March 2, 2013, the conference will address the nature of sensory experience in the ancient world through examinations of the five sense organs: The Eye, The Nose, The Ears, The Mouth, The Skin. How can contemporary scholarship study these senses, divorced from ancient experiences by time and distance, and limited by the cultural mediation of our own sensory faculties? Through focusing on individual sensory experiences, the challenge of capturing sensation and transmitting it through a variety of media will be explored. What, if anything, can we learn across the chasm of both time and medium? What were the challenges that documenting ephemeral experience presented for both ancient peoples and for modern interpreters? How are we to deal with the mediating factors of time, environment, and acculturation when discussing and comparing sensory experiences from the past?
Possible topics include:
• Optics and the science of vision
• Music theory, performance history and the science of musical instruments
• The development of sanitation systems
• Erotic literature and the literary description of physical pleasure
• Gastronomy and the history of beverages
• Poisons and poisoning
• Sense memory and the production of crafts
• Architectural manipulations of the gaze
Papers from a variety of disciplines are encouraged, including but not limited to Religious Studies, Classical Studies, Ancient Studies, Art History, Anthropology, Near Eastern Studies, East Asian Studies, History, and the History of Science. Papers must center on a topic prior to the Early Modern period. Each panel will be chaired by a Penn faculty member.
Proposed titles and abstracts of no more than 500 words should be submitted by email to the committee at: email@example.com by December 15, 2012.
Center for Ancient Studies
University of Pennsylvania
201 Claudia Cohen Hall
Philadelphia, PA 19104
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