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Constance Classen Lecture – “Collecting Our Senses: Seeing, Hearing and Touching in the Museum”

October 18, 2018 at 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

“Collecting Our Senses: Seeing, Hearing and Touching in the Museum”
Dr. Constance Classen

Thursday, October 18, 2018
5:30–7:00 pm
Claude T. Bissell Building (BL)
Room 728 (7th floor)
140 St. George Street

Sponsored by the Faculty of Information

Supported by the The Archaeology CentreDepartment of AnthropologyDepartment of History of Art/Graduate Department of ArtDepartment of HistoryGraduate Union of Student’s of ArtJackman Humanities Institute, Northrop Frye Centre, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council

While museums and art galleries are customarily thought of as places of visual engagement, historical and contemporary practices show that much happens in such sites that escapes the eye. Sensations of touch, of sound, of movement—even of scent and taste—all play a role in the collection experience. Exploring the sensory dynamics of a selection of classic museum pieces and sites will allow us to gain a more full-bodied understanding of this experience, and uncover the social values which underlie our modes of aesthetic perception.

Constance Classen is a cultural historian specializing in the history of the senses. She is the author of The Museum of the Senses: Experiencing Art and Collections (Bloomsbury 2017) and The Deepest Sense: A Cultural History of Touch(University of Illinois Press 2012). She is also the general editor of the six-volume Cultural History of the Senses set (Bloomsbury 2014). Her earlier works include The Color of Angels: Cosmology, Gender and the Aesthetic Imagination(Routledge, 1998) and Worlds of Sense: Exploring the Senses in History and across Cultures (Routledge, 1993). Dr. Classen is currently researching the sensory dimensions of traditional indigenous art forms and how these are finding new modes of expression in contemporary aesthetic practices.

Part of the “Coming to Our Senses: Sensory Methodology and Experience in the 21st Century” Series

Graduate Seminar “Embodying the Senses in Art and Culture” with Dr. Constance Classen and Dr. David Howes
Friday, October 19 @ 12:00 PM at Jackman Humanities Building (JH), Room JHB1040 (10th floor), 170 St. George Street
Application required (, lunch provided

Lecture #2 “Sensory Ethnography: Between Art and Anthropology” with Dr. David Howes
Friday, October 19 @ 3:00 PM at Emmanuel College (EM), Room 119, 75 Queen’s Park

Faculty, students, staff, and the public are all welcome.
No registration necessary. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.


October 18, 2018
5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
Event Category:


Claude T. Bissell Building, Room 728 (7th floor)
140 St. George Street
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3G6 Canada
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