Charles Ganelin and Elisabeth Hodges, Altman Fellows


Nothing is more essential to human experience than sensation. We see, hear, taste, touch, and feel the world around us. Or do we?  Enduring works of philosophy, history, and criticism suggest that our sensory engagements are far more complex than they seem.  The senses are powerfully shaped by historical conditions and cultural values.  They are also enhanced—and sometimes dulled—by technology.  In an age of growing detachment from the body, sensation is increasingly mediated by devices, communication networks, biomedical interventions, and complex simulations.  The urgent questions posed by these developments have ignited a scholarly return to the senses in fields from the arts and humanities to the medical and cognitive sciences.

The 2015-16 Altman Program invites faculty, students, alumni, and the public to join in this exciting multidisciplinary exploration of the senses.  Through distinguished lectures, panels, classes, art exhibits, and special events, we aim to grasp the historical and philosophical nature of sensation in an increasingly technological and global world.  What is sensation, and how has our understanding of it changed over time? How has sensation been mediated by technology, and in what way is it shaped by human environments (buildings, cities, nature)? How are art and expression informed by assumptions about sense perception? How is sensation regulated by social custom, law, censorship, and ritual? What are the ethics of technologically “enhanced” sensation, and what do such enhancements bode for the future?

David Howes  
“The Evidence of the Senses”
Thursday, September 3, 4 PM                                
Marcum Center

Carolyn Korsmeyer    
“Can We Taste the Past?”
Thursday, October 15, 4 PM                         
McMillan Hall Great Room      

Margaret Livingstone     
“What Art Can Tell Us about the Brain”     
Thursday, October 26, 4 PM                     
Shriver Dolibois Room          

Steven Matijcio      
“Making Sense in, and of, Contemporary Art”
Friday, November 13, 5 PM                                 
Contemporary Arts Center, Black Box Theatre, Cincinnati

Christine Sun Kim                                                   
“Liberating the Voice”
Thursday, February 4, 5 PM                                 
Shriver Dolibois Room   

Wendy Bellion 
"The Sound of Sculpture: Listening to Early American Art"
Monday, Mar 14, 4 PM                                   
Shriver Heritage Room

Alia Al Saji  
“Feeling Glued to the Image: How Art and Film Racialize” 
Thursday, March 31, 4 PM                                      
McMillan Hall Great Room

The 2015-16 Altman Symposium: The Senses and Sensation
Thursday, April 14 - Friday, April 15
McMillan Hall Great Room
Keynote Lectures: 
Elizabeth Harvey
“Affect and Early Modern Sensory Boundaries” 
Nora M. Alter
“The Architectonics of Sound in the Essay Film”
Carolyn Nadeau
“Treating Sensory Ailments in the Age of Andreas Vesalius”







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