Sensory Worlds: Iberian Empires and The Other Senses
Indiana University, Bloomington
October 3rd-5th, 2013
The symposium will explore the ways in which Iberian writers crafted images to describe sensory perceptions of Old and New Worlds, both real and imagined. While previous research has tended to focus on the visual, invited speakers and panelists are asked to explore the ways in which medieval and early modern texts produced, activated, and continue to indulge the other senses—from the standpoint of philosophical and aesthetic insights, as well as modern approaches to cognition.
The sensual realm is crucial to understanding the cultural encounters that inspired Iberian authors and thinkers from these periods: from the influential theory of the senses pioneered by the Cordoban philosopher Averroes, to the fearsome sound of Moorish drums pounding in the ears of the Cid, to the confluence of textual and plastic art forms that surrounded the Hapsburg dynasty and characterized Golden Age theatre, and the exotic sights and fragrances that confronted travelers and captives like Columbus and Cervantes on their ventures across the Atlantic and throughout the Mediterranean. Early modern novelists evoked new tastes imported from Asia and the West Indies, and catalogued increasingly urban sound- and smellscapes. They described the effluvial pungency of bustling ports and city centers of empire, the odors of tobacco smoke and flayed animal skins, and the booming explosion of siege cannon, while poetically interiorizing the sensorial plane and forging synesthetic gateways to transcendence and the ineffable. Discourses of sacramental and purportedly miraculous seeing, hearing, tasting, and touching were at the same time central to the effort of affirming the faith and converting religious minorities and indigenous peoples on the Peninsula and in the Americas. The senses were no less instrumental in the confessional coercion and tortuous scrutinies that characterized the Inquisition. This will be a highly productive opportunity to dialogue and collaborate with dynamic colleagues and researchers working in cross-disciplinary areas in the fields of Iberian literature and culture.
Please send one-page abstract and two-page CV to firstname.lastname@example.org<mailto:email@example.com> by March 31, 2013.
Inquiries to Ryan Giles (firstname.lastname@example.org<mailto:email@example.com>) or Steven Wagschal (firstname.lastname@example.org<mailto:email@example.com>).
Notifications will be sent out by April 8th, 2013.