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Conference Call: A Return to the Senses



A Return to the Senses: Political Theory and the Sensorium

– A Theory & Event Conference –
May 7 – 9, 2009

The resurgence of scholarly research on the nexus between politics and aesthetics has brought to the fore rich and diverse investigations on the role of the senses in political life. Whether engaging the theories of perception that configure our understandings of justice, or forms of aesthetic experience in an ethics of appearance, or the role of affect and the passions in human motivation, the concerns that motivate these and other cognate inquiries stem from an important fact of pluralist democratic societies: namely, that individuals or groups in pluralist democracies attend to one another at the level of appearances. In this respect, how we imagine the configuration, disposition, character and function of the senses when engaging political events is of critical importance for political theory.

In collaboration with the political and cultural theory journal Theory & Event, an international conference will be held at Trent University in Peterborough (Canada) on May 7 – 9, 2009. Multidisciplinary in scope and ambition, this conference seeks proposals from scholars whose research interests pursue the diverse cultural sites of political theory’s sensorium. Such sites might include television, cinema, new media, food, music, and dance; practices of visibility, iteration, aurality, flavor; contemporary and historical treatments of perception and taste, time and movement – from a multitude of political, historical and theoretical perspectives.

The submission deadline for proposals is October 1, 2008. Please submit abstracts of 300-400 words (Ph.D. candidates should indicate their expected date of completion) to the following email address: Notifications of acceptance will be sent out in January, 2009.
Conference Organizer:
Davide Panagia
Canada Research Chair in Cultural Studies
Traill College, Trent University
Conference Coordinator:
Adrienne Richards
The Center for the Study of Theory, Culture, and Politics
Trent University

Sponsored by the Canada Research Chair in Cultural Studies and The Centre for the Study of Theory, Culture, and Politics at Trent University.


UPDATE: We are at a conference at the University of Rochester on Visual Communication this weekend. Last night we had dinner with Michael Shaw of the BAG and Cara Finnegan, University of Illinois, where we prepared a “collective” post on a photograph from yesterday’s NYT. You can see the post titled “Serpentine Days” here.


Conference Call: A Return to the Senses


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