12-5-2013 Mark Paterson
Date: December 5 (Thurs.), 4:30-6:00, Berger Gallery (207 College Hall), Duquesne University.
Title: "On 'Inner Touch' and the Moving Body: Aisthêsis, Kinaesthesis, Aesthetics"
Presenter: Mark Paterson, Visiting Assistant Professor in Communication at the University of Pittsburgh and Scholar in Residence in the McAnulty College at Duquesne University
Abstract: A series of neurological findings in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries began to chart sensations felt within the body, especially the moving body, yet which lay outside the usual Aristotelian five-fold model of the senses. Like the maps drawn up by explorers of unknown lands, this neurological cartography was pioneering yet contentious. From Charles Bell's indistinct ‘muscle sense' (1826), to H. Charles Bastian's identification of a feedback mechanism known as ‘kinesthesis' (1869), and later Charles Sherrington's ‘proprio-ception' (1906), the identification of such neurological mechanisms failed to converge neatly into a unified map. Even today, thinking about our internal sensations - "inner touch" - remains disjointed. I therefore return to Aristotle's notion of sensory faculty (aesthesis) and its influence as a form of "inner touch" well into the Early Modern period to consider the role of somatic sensations within bodily movement, and point to recent research in the performing arts that attempts to gauge the aesthetic worth of such bodily sensations.
Bio: Mark Paterson is Visiting Assistant Professor in Communication at the University of Pittsburgh, and Scholar in Residence in the McAnulty College at Duquesne. His books include Consumption and Everyday Life (Routledge, 2005), The Senses of Touch: Haptics, Affects and Technologies (Berg, 2007), is co-editor with Martin Dodge of Touching Space, Placing Touch (Ashgate, 2012), and recently completed Seeing with the Hands: Blindness and Philosophy After Descartes and Diderot (In Press, Reaktion) which looks at the Early Modern legacy of conceptualizing the relationship between vision and touch, and what this means for historical and contemporary understandings of blindness and vision impairment. He has published journal articles in literature and social science journals on touch and haptics, and has worked on funded projects in the areas of robot skin, the historical geography of the so-called ‘Blind Traveller', and the haptic modelling of prehistoric textiles in museum contexts. The talk is based on research for his next book project, How We Became Sensory-motor: A History of the ‘Muscle Sense' for Pennsylvania State University Press. His website is www.sensory-motor.com.
All interested faculty, graduate students, and other parties are invited. Refreshments will be served.
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