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Call for Papers

*Sensing Senses: Interdisciplinary Studies in Sensory Perception*

A Graduate Conference Hosted by the German & Scandinavian Studies Program,
Languages, Literatures & Cultures Dept.? / University of  
Massachusetts, Amherst

February 17 - 19, 2012

Keynote Speaker: Florence Feiereisen (Middlebury College)

At the mention of senses, one thinks of five capabilities used to  
gather data about one?s environment.  This Aristotelian paradigm has  
dominated Western civilization long enough to establish itself as a  
truism among many scholars without, as anthropologist David Howe  
reminds us, ?exploring how the senses interact with each other in  
different combination and hierarchies.?  Recent research in the social  
sciences and humanities has revealed an increasingly rhizomatic view  
of sensual worlds, in that the synaesthetic experience has become the  
norm: colors in film recall tastes, music conveys a sense of  
acceleration, the eye is fooled into feeling spaces, and so forth.

But to sense is also to act upon.  Senses inculcate subjectivities,  
secure or rebel against social realities, and/or produce notoriously  
unreliable testimony at legal proceedings.  They can be colonized and  
overloaded, blinded or corrupted, even opened, enticed and remotely  
enabled.  But above all, they are to be historicized, located in the  
social context and bodies they inhabit or once inhabited.

The fifth biennial graduate student conference in German &  
Scandinavian Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst  
invites interdisciplinary paper submissions on the broad topic of the  
?senses? with an emphasis on framing sites of perception as  
historically and culturally specific.  To medieval scholars, one might  
ask how sensory experience inflected secular and spiritual worlds.  To  
modern scholars, one could continue this line of thinking in terms of  
the embodied sensory apparatus of industrial producers and  
consumers.?To those embarking on digital humanities projects, the  
relationship between empirical observation and the abstract metrics of  
the attention economy raises epistemological concerns. All of this  
work can be placed in dialog with transnational flows as well as  
asymmetrical power dynamics that have persisted throughout history,  
and which become the sites of discursive positioning about what can  
and cannot be sensed.

As ?sense? is being seen within a broad context, we welcome paper  
proposals addressing a variety of themes for an  
interdisciplinary?discussion of the above questions and more. The  
field of interest includes, but is not limited to, the following topics:

--the tension between ?sense? as perception / knowledge / meaning
--Sinnlosigkeit, meningslösheten, senselessness
?--sensing culture & race?--sense and gender
?--social regulation of perception via fashion and architecture
?--food studies
?--sensory overload
--affect and remote viewing
?--functions of marginalized senses such as equilibrioception  
(balance) or olfacception (smell)
--sensualities
--attention economies past, present and future
?--socio-political positioning via thick description?--sound and  
audioception in other media
?--re-evaluations of philosophers such as Hans-Georg Gadamer or Ernst Mach

Please e-mail attached proposals of no more than 300 words along with  
a short biographical paragraph to [log in to unmask] by *November  
28, 2011.*

Some travel support may be available.  Participants are encouraged to  
seek funding for travel within their departments or from outside  
sources.  Please inform us of your financial situation ahead of time  
and how we might best accommodate your needs.

More detailed information about the conference can be found on our  
website: http://sensingsenses.wordpress.com


Katrin Bahr
PhD student
German and Scandinavian Studies
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Herter Hall 518
Amherst, MA 01003-9312
[log in to unmask]
Tel. +1-(413)545-6688 (office)
http://www.umass.edu/german/

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