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Sensory Perception in the Early Medieval World

5 March 2014

Extract from a British Library MS

An interdisciplinary conference on Sensory Perception in the Early Medieval World will be held at the Institute in April. The deadline for the call for papers is 7 March.

The event is part of the Early Medieval Interdisciplinary Conference Series and intends to consider how sight and other senses are represented and invited by medieval productions, and used by different disciplines to construct our ideas of the medieval.

Attention is being increasingly brought to the ways in which we understand and interpret elements of material culture of the medieval period.  This focus is enhanced by the growing availability of digital technologies which add to the potential for visual perception while perhaps reducing opportunities to use other senses for interpretation. At the same time, scholarship is becoming more conscious of ways in which artefacts and documents were perceived and used in the period: of how the design of spaces and objects, including books and manuscripts, controlled their reception.

Proposals are invited for 20 minute papers on any aspect of sensory perception, and from researchers in any discipline.  Papers are particularly welcome from PhD students and early career researchers.  Topics could include, but are not limited to:

  • how documents and objects (at all scales) invite and exploit sensory perception
  • different sensory experiences of the medieval
  • the impact of using particular resources, such as digital technologies on sensory experience
  • how the senses are represented and explored in medieval sources
  • experiences of sensory loss, such as blindness and deafness in the medieval world

Papers will be considered for publication as a volume, and the conference will be reviewed for the Networks and Neighbours project. Abstracts of no more than 300 words are invited for submission by Friday 7 March 2014.  Please email abstracts to Simon Thomson at medievalsenses@gmail.com.