Sciences of the Senses
This group will focus on the overlapping histories of the sciences of nature and culture at the turn of the twentieth century, at a time when the human senses became central objects of investigation for anthropologists, linguists, physiologists, psychologists, technicians, and instrument makers. It will explore scientific attempts to produce knowledge through and about the senses as a way of restoring authentic continuities among disciplinary entities in flux, and producing scientific knowledge about human nature and culture.
To join this working group, click "Request group membership" at right. You will receive instructions for participating online or in person.
Cameron Brinitzer is a PhD candidate in the History and Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania.
Judy Kaplan is a cultural and intellectual historian of the human sciences with a special interest in the history of linguistic research. Currently a teaching fellow with the Integrated Studies Program at the University of Pennsylvania, she was previously a Mellon fellow with the Wolf Humanities Forum and a postdoctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin.
Upcoming Meetings (all times Eastern)
Wednesday, October 21, 2020 - 3:00pm to 4:30pm
Wednesday, November 18, 2020 - 3:00pm to 4:30pm
Wednesday, December 16, 2020 - 3:00pm to 4:30pm
September 16, 2020
For this session, there will be no pre-circulated reading. Instead, we invite you to bring an image, slide, or sound file from your current research to share and discuss. We’ll look and listen together, and talk about how we might analyze the things people bring.
August 19, 2020
Gabriel Coren, "Sounding Ethnos: composition by field" (work in progress).
July 15, 2020
Cameron Brinitzer, "The Colour Sense: Between the Lab, Field, and Garden" (work in progress).
June 17, 2020
Laurel Waycott, "Taste and Civilization in 'The Yellow Wall-Paper'" (2019).
May 20, 2020
Etienne Benson, "Swimming in Data" (in prep.) & "Sensing a River" (in prep.).
April 15, 2020
Omar Nasim, "Ornamental Mind," (work in progress).
March 18, 2020
Omar Nasim, "Ornamental Mind"
February 19, 2020
Judith Kaplan, "Intelligible Pitch," (in prep.).
Jonathan Sterne, "Hello!" (2003), in The Audible Past: Cultural Origins of Sound Reproduction.
January 15, 2020
John Tresch, "The Prophet and the Pendulum; Sensational Science and Audiovisual Phantasmagoria around 1848" (2011) and "Introduction: Audio/Visual" (2011, with Mara Mills).
November 13, 2019
Richard Staley, "The Economic Explanation" (in prep.) and "Sensory Studies, or When Physics was Psychophysics: Ernst Mach and Physics Between Physiology and Psychology, 1860-71" (2018).