Sensing Subjects: towards a non-representation of sense

Type: Paper
Theme:
Sponsor Groups:
Poster #:
Day: 4/7/2019
Start / End Time: 3:55 PM / 5:35 PM
Room: Marshall South, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Organizers: Phillip Campanile, Leonora Zoninsein
Chairs: Phillip Campanile

Call for Submissions

We are looking for abstracts of those interested in participating in our session that examines theories and methods of examining the role of bodily sense in geography.

How do geographers make sense of the senses today? As digital prostheses and proboscis collect, abstract, and process the seen and unseen, smelled and unsmelled, etc. at every scale, is it archaic or romantic to insist on the importance of bodily sense? And even if we did insist, it is not immediately clear what role exists for the senses in geography. How can we know what that role might be if we don’t come to our senses to find out? Is it even knowing we’re after? We wish to examine and experiment with theoretical and methodological approaches to the senses that might be capable of responding to such provocations.

If interested please contact Leonora Zoninsein (leonoraz@berkeley.edu) and Phillip Campanile (p.campanile@berkeley.edu).


Description

Sensing Subjects: towards a non-representation of sense

How do geographers make sense of the senses today? As digital prostheses and proboscis collect, abstract, and process the seen and unseen, smelled and unsmelled, etc. at every scale, is it archaic or romantic to insist on the importance of bodily sense? And even if we did insist, it is not immediately clear what role exists for the senses in geography. How can we know what that role might be if we don’t come to our senses to find out? Is it even knowing we’re after? We wish to examine and experiment with theoretical and methodological approaches to the senses that might be capable of responding to such provocations.

We argue that we need to (re)sensitize bodily attentiveness and attunement to the evolving earth. However, academics are adolescent in experimenting with how to undiscipline enough to contribute to, or to contest, inherited disciplinarity. We are grateful for insights from phenomenology, feminism, posthumanism, affect theory, and non-representational methods, and we’d like to push on geography’s seeming reluctance to fully incorporate them. While the concept of space appears to assert an abstraction from bodily sense, we insist on the inextricability between sensing and environment that grounds geography. We hope for this panel to contribute to the development of methods and paradigms for the study of bodily sense as integral to the study of geography.

We are particularly keen to historicize the senses. In the 1844 Manuscripts Marx writes that “The forming of the five senses is a labor of the entire history of the world down to the present.” It is from this hieroglyph, that we insist upon generating new ways of understanding what it means to sense here-today, and how such experience compares across history and geography.

Sense is historically and geographically situated, conditioned, and constructed: anything but “natural.” But to fully embody this insistence turns out to be a rather unacademic affair. Even if we were to try, how might one represent sensing? Representing the senses has entailed an abstraction of sense from subject in a way that automatically reifies and separates both. We are particularly interested to draw from the insights of non-representational theory, which has found at least a small foothold in the discipline (Thrift 2008).

We invite papers that experiment with the problem of sense, whether by method, representation, critical inquiry, or whatever else. Papers could include the problems brought up by the aforementioned disciplines or methods, and they might also include reflections on one’s own practices and experiences with sensing milieu, with expanding sense, with vulnerability and precarity, with sensing in common, etc. Papers may in fact not be papers but some manner of slide show, performance, or discussion. We are particularly interested in engagements with sense as historical phenomena, however you wish to interpret that.

If interested please contact Leonora Zoninsein (leonoraz@berkeley.edu) and Phillip Campanile (p.campanile@berkeley.edu).






Agenda

Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Phillip Campanile*, University of California - Berkeley, Exposure to the Elements: problems in territorial belonging 20 3:55 PM
Presenter Angeline Young*, , Chinese Italy: Race, Space, and Kinesthetic Justice 20 4:15 PM
Presenter Maral Sotoudehnia*, University of Victoria, Sticky, waddling: An autobiography of pregnant embodiment in Toronto’s crypto-economy 20 4:35 PM
Presenter Daniel Niles*, Research Institute for Humanity and Nature, Patterns in place: the aesthetic dimensions of agroecological sustainability 20 4:55 PM

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