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AMST 805 01 (12193) /HSAR720/WGSS779/RLST699/REL966
Sensational Materialities: Sensory Cultures in History, Theory, and Method
Sally Promey
M 3.30-5.20 LORIA 259
Fall 2016 
 
This interdisciplinary seminar explores the sensory and material histories of (often religious) images, objects, buildings, and performances as well as the potential for the senses to spark contention in material practice. With a focus on American things and religions, the course also considers broader geographical and categorical parameters so as to invite intellectual engagement with the most challenging and decisive developments in relevant fields, including recent literatures on material agencies. The goal is to investigate possibilities for scholarly examination of a robust human sensorium of sound, taste, touch, scent, and sight—and even "sixth senses"—the points where the senses meet material things (and vice versa) in life and practice. Topics include the cultural construction of the senses and sensory hierarchies; investigation of the sensory capacities of things; and specific episodes of sensory contention in and among various religious traditions. In addition, the course invites thinking beyond the "Western" five senses to other locations and historical possibilities for identifying the dynamics of sensing human bodies in religious practices, experience, and ideas. The Sensory Cultures of Religion Research Group meets at 7 p.m. on Tuesdays; class participants are strongly encouraged, but not required, to attend.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor; qualified undergraduates are welcome.