CONF May 3, 2024

EMSE 2024: Sensory Subjectivities (Oxford, 6-7 Jun 24)

Kellogg College, University of Oxford, Jun 6–07, 2024
Registration deadline: May 23, 2024

Leah Clark

EMSE 2024: "Early Modern Sensory Experiences: Sensory Subjectivities", Kellogg College, University of Oxford (UK).

The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH, The University of Oxford) and The Open University invite registrations for the annual interdisciplinary Early Modern Sensory Experiences (EMSE) conference.
Interest in sensory experiences of the past has grown in recent years, with scholars engaging with interdisciplinary approaches in order to better understand historical lived experiences. This annual conference explores the visual, auditory, tactile, gustatory and/or olfactory experiences across the globe between c.1400 and c.1700.

This year’s conference, ‘Sensory Subjectivities’, will welcome papers that consider sensory experiences as instances or reflections of identity and alterity and which discuss possible methodologies and approaches to this particular subject.


JUNE 6th, 2024

9:00 - 9:45 Registration and coffee

9:45 - 10:00 Welcome and Introduction (Leah Clark and Helen Coffey)


10.00 - 11.30 SESSION: Bodies/Paper/Knowledge

Kate Buis (University of Minnesota), ‘Paper Bodies: Exploring Early Modern Corporeal Imaginaries, Corporeal Things, and Performance through the Fugitive Sheets’

Sukiana Husain (The University of Edinburgh), ‘Capturing the World in a Breath: Reading Books in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century Mughal Court’

Di Wang (University of Oxford), ‘Nourishing Pictures as Medical Diet for the Maternal Body and Mind in Yinshan Zhengyao’


12.00-13.00 SESSION: Performativity/Community

Eduardo Dawson (University of Notre Dame), ‘Sensorial Religiosity: Jesuit Understandings of Early African Religious Experiences’

Sreedevi D (Indian Institute of Technology Jodhpur), ‘Narrating the Region through the Senses: A Study of Selected Thullal Krithikal by Kunjan Nambiar’




14.00 - 15.00 SESSION: Travels/Environment

Olena Morenets (University of Zurich), ‘Travelling Across Smell Borders: “Us” vs “Them” Encounters in Early Modern Travel Writing’

Tania Sheikhan (University College London), ‘Tavernier’s ‘Rattling Chains’: Echoes of Persian Life through Sensory Narratives and the Construction of Orientalist Mythos’


Tea Break


15.30 - 16.30 SESSION: Domestic Experiences

Clare Taylor (The Open University), ‘Living with Gilt Leather in Seventeenth-century England and Scotland’

Flora Dennis (University of Sussex), ‘Doorknockers, Sound and Social Dynamics in the Early Modern Italian Home’

Conference Dinner for those registered, Kellogg College


JUNE 7th, 2024

10.00 - 11.00 SESSION: Urban Experiences

Lorenzo Tunesi (Stanford University), ‘Bells of Fear: Sonic Panic in Early Modern Milan’

Moyun Zhou (The University of Hong Kong), ‘Encountering Bronze: The Church of St. Paul’s in the Fortified Macao’




11.30 - 13.00 SESSION: Visual Alterity/Ways of Seeing

Suzanne Compagnon (Utrecht University), ‘Alterity as Visual Disruption in Early Eighteenth-century Ottoman Painting’

Michelle Moseley (Virginia Tech), ‘The Hungry Eye: Looking and Tasting as Epistemic Experience in Early Modern Netherlandish Image and Text’

Yizhou Wang (Hong Kong Baptist University), ‘Musiking as a Method of Negotiating Gender Identities in Ming Dynasty Paintings’




14.00 - 15.30 SESSION: Religious Subjectivities

Jaimie Luria (Cornell University), ‘Living Waters and Jewish Corporealities: An Archaeo-Anthropological Study of Ritual Immersion Pools in The Mediterranean’

Andy Murray (The Open University), ‘The Spiritualisation of Mourning, the Dual Experience of Pain’

Juliet Simpson (Coventry University), ‘Touchable and Untouchable Bodies: Matthias Grünewald and the ‘Sensory’ Sacred’


16.00 - 17.00 SESSION: Collecting and Objects

Lisa Brunner (University of Innsbruck), ‘Writing about the Unknown. Early Modern Collection Catalogues as Sensory Sources (knowledge)’

Sizhao Yi (University of Chicago), ‘(In)Tangible Surfaces: Depictions of Objects in Chen Hongshou’s Mogu tu Album’

Conference Ends (followed by optional drinks/dinner at a local pub)


You can register here on Eventbrite:

Online attendance is available for free.

For 'in person' attendance, there is a charge of £45, which covers catering costs, please register on Eventbrite to register your attendance and dietary requirements, and then pay for your ticket via University Stores to confirm your ticket:

If you're not able to attend, please cancel ahead of the 23rd May to ensure correct numbers for catering.

Further info about the Sensory Subjectivities project can be found on the TORCH website:

CONF: EMSE 2024: Sensory Subjectivities (Oxford, 6-7 Jun 24). In:, May 3, 2024 (accessed Jun 20, 2024), <>.