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Sensing and Feeling: The Embodiment of Experience in the Eighteenth Century

The Center for Eighteenth-Century Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, May 23-26, 2007


The Center for Eighteenth-Century Studies at Indiana University is pleased
to announce the sixth Bloomington Eighteenth-Century Workshop, to be held
on May 23-26, 2007. The workshop is part of a series of annual
interdisciplinary events that has been running since 2002, with 20-30
scholars presenting and discussing pre-circulated papers on a broad topic
in a congenial setting.

Our topic for 2007 is "Sensing and Feeling: The embodiment of experience
in the eighteenth century". Connecting mental and social practices to
bodily sensation became crucial in many different venues during the
eighteenth century. How were cognition, experience, and feelings
understood to be linked to the body? What were the mediations between the
sensorium and religious, social, and political practices?

Our aim is to go beyond the Foucauldian notion that the body is above all
a medium of power - suffering its consequences or heroically offering
resistance to it. We seek to provide a more nuanced perspective on the
body by investigating sensation, embodiment, and the connections between
them, at the levels both of experience and of conceptualization of
experience. How did understandings of the embodiment of cognition and
affect shift over time? What sort of social and psychological practices
were enabled by thinking of the senses in certain ways? How, in turn, did
these practices prompt a rethinking of the nexus of psychic and
physiological realities? And how did representational practices (visual,
musical, textual, scientific, dramatic, etc.) respond to such shifts?

Papers might address topics such as:

* the shifting relationship between sensing and feeling
* the isolation and division of the senses
* sensorial mutilation, phantom limbs and prostheses
* the relationship of "inner sense" to the outer senses
* the changing relations between religious experience (conviction,
  conversion, enthusiasm, etc.) to the senses and embodiment
* aesthetics and aesthesiology
* the conceptualization of the embodiment of thought and feeling in
  different spheres (physiology, philosophy, medicine, anthropology,
  drama, literary criticism, etc.)
* the place of embodiment of thought or feeling in the changing
  understandings of the relationship between body and soul
* the social organization of the senses
* the embodiment of sympathy, pity, compassion, and empathy
* skin and touch
* eighteenth-century texts and institutions seen from the vantage of
  current research in cognitive science and related disciplines
* the relations of sight or vision to the other embodied senses in
  eighteenth-century science and natural philosophy

The workshop format will consist of focused discussion of four to six
pre-circulated papers a day, amid socializing and refreshment. The
workshop will draw both on the wide community of eighteenth-century
scholars and on the large and growing group of scholars in this field at
Indiana University-Bloomington. The workshop will cover most expenses of
those scholars chosen to present their work: accommodations, travel (up to
a certain limit), and most meals.

We are asking for applications to be sent to us by Monday, 8th January
2007. The application consists of a two-page description of the proposed
paper as well as a current cv. Please email or send your application to
Dr. Barbara Truesdell, Weatherly Hall North, room 122, Bloomington, IN
47405, USA, Telephone +1-812/855-2856, email voltaire@indiana.edu. Papers
will be selected by an interdisciplinary committee.

For further information please refer to our website,
http://www.indiana.edu/~voltaire/ , or contact the director of the Center,
Dror Wahrman, Dept. of History, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405,
e-mail dwahrman@indiana.edu.
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