"Representing the Senses in the Ancient Near East: Between Text and Image"
(RAI Geneva/Bern 2015)
The sound of the drum, the light of the sun, the scent of the sacrifice. The ancient world was rich with sensation. Over the past two decades, the field of sensory studies has garnered increasing attention from scholars in the humanities. Sensory studies prioritize the human experience of sensation and examine how people have understood the senses differently from one culture to another and in various historical periods. This workshop will highlight the Assyriological research that is currently being conducted in this emerging field.
We invite participants to explore how the cultures of the Ancient Near East represented sensory phenomena, not only in languages and literature, but also in art and iconography. Drawing on the evidence from textual and artistic sources, we will consider questions like: How did the people of the Ancient Near East understand their senses to operate? What types of sensory phenomena are represented in the sources and why? Can representations of the senses in art shed light on the literary evidence, or vice versa?
We seek to present a variety of approaches to this topic and welcome proposals that: take philological, literary, art historical, or other perspectives; that address the means of sense perception (e.g. vision, hearing, touch) or the objects of perception (e.g. light, noise, texture); and that examine the senses within religious, political, or social contexts.
This specific session is integrated within a general workshop on Emotion and Senses in the Ancient Near East, organized in collaboration with Sara Kipfer (Bern University). It will take place in Bern during the Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale (Thursday June 25th, 2015).
An abstract of approximately 250 words should be sent to the organizers of the workshop, with a short CV, before the March, 1st. The abstract should outline the topic, methodology, and any specific texts or images to be discussed.
Ainsley Hawthorn (Yale University) ainsley.hawthorn at gmail.com
Anne-Caroline Rendu Loisel (University of Geneva) anne-caroline.rendu at unige.ch