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Making Sense of It All: An Interdisciplinary Exploration into the Senses

October 5, 2012 9am – 3pm Location: TBD

The Hagley Graduate Fellows of the History Department at the University of Delaware invite members of the UD graduate student community to join together in an interdisciplinary “unconference” on the role of sensory perception in the human experience.

A Bridge with the Environment: Human beings have relied on their array of senses to interpret their changing environments for millennia. In the last few hundred years a wide range of technologies has extended human sensory experiences, hence transforming the ways in which people navigated and engaged with the world. Are we more conscious of our environments today as a result of the technological extension of our senses, or less? How have societies across time and space constructed the meaning of various senses? How and why have specific cultures prioritized certain senses over others? How have human beings utilized animal sensory capabilities? What are the psychological ramifications of the truly novel sensory experience created by deep space images, genetic mapping, or the media barrage?

Interdisciplinary Dialogue: While scientific research has illuminated the complex function of various senses and different organs, anthropologists and historians have demonstrated the cultural and historical construction of sensory experiences. For all the extensive research, there have been few conversations between scholars from different disciplines. It is impossible to gauge the wide reaching significance of this sensory phenomenon on our consciousness within the confines of any single discipline: anthropologists, psychologists, biologists, art historians, engineers unite! If the questions you are asking about your subject—whatever it is—can be framed in any way to relate to how humans perceive the world around them, we want to connect with you. Let’s try to make sense of it all.

What is an unconference? The format for this event is an “unconference,” a free-floating, interactive conversation circle, for the purpose of providing graduate students with intellectual stimulation and scholarly networks across disciplines on the UD campus. There will be neither a rigid time frame nor any presenters. Rather, all the participants are expected to bring informed curiosity and an eagerness to explore new perspectives. We will build the conference “sessions” together at the beginning of the unconference. Bring passion for your specialty and a willingness to share your ideas in a collegial environment! Be prepared to introduce yourself, your interests, and to give the other attendees a meaningful introduction to your interests as they relate to a rapidly changing world of sensory perception. We strongly encourage participants from various academic disciplines, including both the sciences and the humanities.

Refreshments will be provided.

Please RSVP, including your name, department, and brief summary of your projects, to the Hagley Fellows at by 10/1.

Stay tuned for our brochure....!



UD Hagley Program
Hagley Program | Contact us | History Department, 236 John Munroe Hall, Newark, DE 19716 | 302-831-8226 phone | 302-831-1538 fax