ACCESS Seminar on cultural specificity of embodied emotions and smell

The Amsterdam Centre for Cross-Disciplinary Emotion and Sensory Studies (ACCESS) organizes a seminar on the:

Cultural specificity of embodied emotions and smell

In this seminar Zhen Pan and Caro Verbeek address the question of the human universality and historical specificity of emotional expression and the experience of smell. Please be welcome to hear, see and inhale!

De reuk, Cornelis Dusart, 1670 – 1704, engraving, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

De reuk, Cornelis Dusart, 1670 – 1704, engraving, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

Place:                Meertens Instituut: Joan Muyskenweg 25, Amsterdam

Date:                 Tuesday 22 March 2016

Time:                15.00-17.00

Register:           Please register using the form below this announcement.

Entrance:          Free




Zhen Pan

Jiangsu Normal University / Visiting scholar at Metaphor Lab Amsterdam (

The history of embodied emotions in Chinese. A brief introduction

Emotions are universal but expressed differently across time and place, owing to cultural changes and variations. The human body can be seen as a container of emotions, and its parts and postures are common elements in emotion metaphors. This research project aims to describe and explain the changes of bodily metaphors in emotional expressions in Chinese, considering gender and social groups. The project investigates the historical features of emotion metaphors and the way they are shaped by social, political and economic factors.


Caro Verbeek

Rijksmuseum / Vrije Universiteit

Inhaling history – scents and sensibilities in the 18th century

Please be welcome to hear, see and inhale!From powdered wigs to reeking canals: in the eighteenth century inhabitants of big cities were confronted with a completely different set of (mal)odours and perfumes. Aromatic environments depended highly on status and profession, whereas some other scents were omnipresent. In that sense, little has changed. What has altered, however, is our perceptual paradigm, along with scent-connected memories and associations with substances we still find nowadays. Are the foul and the fragrant universal or transhistorical? During this performance I will present an eighteenth-century scentscape of a rich Amsterdam family living at the Herengracht.