Call for Papers: Conflict and the Senses in the Global Cold War

International Workshop
“Conflict and the Senses in the Global Cold War: From Propaganda to Sensory Warfare”
Berlin Center for Cold War Studies at the Leibniz Institute for Contemporary History (IfZ)
in cooperation with Stiftung Luftbrückendank and Stiftung Ernst-Reuter-Archiv Berlin
15–16.10.2020 in Berlin

CfP Workshop Conflict and the Senses in Global Cold War BKKK 2020

Although a conflict in which military strategies and weapons of mass destruction were always on the “horizon of expectation”, the Cold War was to a large degree carried out by non-lethal methods. It was also a war of culture, politics, and (visual and sonic) propaganda. Therefore, it can be understood to a great extent as a war not only on the senses, but as a war through the senses. In recent times, sensory aspects of domestic and international conflicts have become a field of interest in both sensory studies and conflict studies, with their methods and questionnaires intertwining in fruitful cooperation. Historiographical approaches include the study of conflicts from the American Civil War to the Russian Revolution to both World Wars, and these examine how wars as the most extreme form of conflict were perceived—and how war changed contemporary perception. The central conflict of the second half of the 20th century, though, is still a blatantly unexplored area in terms of sensory approaches.

Steve Goodman has described how sound was used to carry out conflict—in propaganda, crowd control, and even in military practice and torture. Extending his term “sonic warfare” to “sensory warfare”, the workshop aims to discuss sensory aspects of the global Cold War—from sonic and visual propaganda to military forms of conflict in the “hot” wars of the Cold War in Korea or Vietnam.

What techniques were developed to attack the enemy with non-lethal and lethal weapons, ranging from irritation to the deadly use of chemicals aimed at the respiratory organs of the enemy? How were the senses trained to motivate the masses into a state of alert, for example, through sonic signals? What sensory methods were used to gain intelligence and information? What were the “micro politics” and affective measures used to influence people unconsciously, with the aim of dividing them into political communities of different perceptions, for example, in gustatory preferences? How did the Cold War not only use but also change perception as a result of division?

Papers may address (among other topics) aspects of:

– sonic and visual propaganda (e.g., at the borders of Germany, Korea, or Vietnam);
– cultural politics aimed at a Western/Eastern way of seeing, hearing, etc.;
– taste politics, as in “Americanized” vs. “Sovietized” and how this pertains to the global context concerning nutrition (e.g., airdrops of chocolate and chewing gum during the Berlin Airlift);
– spatial analysis of Cold War sense scapes;
– the “built view”, as in political architectures of transparency, centralism, or power;
– military measures aimed at perception organs (such as gas, and sonic and visual weapons);
– plans for “ecocide” or environmental weapons;
– sensory training and sensitization for both soldiers and civilians (altered states, e.g., by learning sonic signals);
– sensory methods of intelligence;
– the use of animal sensoria for warfare, border control and political policing;
– sensory warfare in domestic political conflicts of the Cold War (e.g., tear gas or olfactory forensics);
– sense aspects of human rights discourse, such as in detention and torture (e.g., pain, sensory deprivation);
– haptic aspects such as war toys or industrial design (from Sputnik to the red button);
– other everyday life aspects of the Cold War, such as how it affected music, gastronomy, perfumery;
– “new senses” like equilibrioception or pain control (e.g., in air force and other military training);
– transcontinental sensory aspects of the Cold War’s proxy wars (Africa, Asia, South America); or
– the Cold War and the senses in the museum.

By addressing these topics, the conference aims to apply perspectives from the internationally emerging field of sensory studies to Cold War history—and the other way around—with a clear focus on perception. We are seeking to gain general knowledge about how to apply sensory approaches to a concrete historical phenomenon and we seek to understand the sensory aspects of the Cold War in everyday life, as well as border areas of warfare in the 20th century.

Therefore, scholars from both sensory studies and history/conflict studies are encouraged to submit proposals. While understanding perception within its intersensorial dimensions, we do welcome both multisensorial resp. intersensory papers as well as such papers limited to a single sensory perception, especially to those senses that have been studied less.

Please tender submissions in the form of short and comprehensive proposals with an emphasis on the sensory aspect of your paper. The conference language is English and our intention is to subsequently publish the proceedings.

Each proposal should include:

– the author’s name and affiliation,
– email address,
– an abstract of no more than 350 words, and
– a short biography (no more than 150 words).

Please submit proposals to Dr. Bodo Mrozek: mrozek [at] ifz-muenchen.de by the deadline of 31 May 2020. The program will be announced by June 2020.

Call for Papers: Song Studies

The Amsterdam Centre for Cross-Disciplinary Emotion and Sensory Studies and THALIA, research group on the Interplay of Theatre, Literature & Media in Performance, present:

SONG STUDIES 2020

EXPLORING INTERDISCIPLINARY APPROACHES TO SONGS AND PRACTICES OF SINGING (1200-TODAY)

Ghent University, 1-3 July 2020

Keynote speaker: Monique Scheer (Tübingen University)

Call for papers

The singing voice is a medium of expression that is found in all times and cultures. People have always been singing, not only to perform entertainingly, but also to express emotions or to embody identities. This has for example made collective singing (and listening) practices a primary way for people to articulate and embody the identities that are fundamental to the existence of social groups. The bodily and sensory experience of moving and sounding together in synchrony, enables individuals to experience feelings of togetherness with others.

Song is the versatile medium facilitating such processes. Songs can evoke and channel emotions, employing them for specific (or less specific) means. As a multimodal genre, song enables not only the articulation and embodiment of ideas; as an inherently oral and intangible medium, songs can move through space and time, transgressing any material form. Therefore, songs have proven an ideal tool for the distribution of news, contentious ideas, or mobilising messages.

This conference aims to bring together researchers from various disciplines investigating song (for example musicology, literary studies, history, sociology, performance studies, cognition studies, anthropology, etc.). The focus will be on the definition of possible approaches to the study of this medium (both in its material and performed existence), its performances (in any form) and reception (in any context). Research examples may cover songs written and sung in any culture and language, and any (historical) period. Common ground will be found through concepts, approaches and methodologies, encouraging an interdisciplinary and transhistorical dialogue, breaking ground for a new research field: song studies.

Possible research areas and questions to be explored are:
– how to study the multimodality of the genre, acknowledging both textual and musical characteristics, and its performative nature;
– the sensory/bodily and emotional/affective experience of listening and singing;
– cognitive and/or affective processes of singing (and collective singing practices);
– how to study the performative aspects of songs in historical contexts;
– the ‘power’/agency of song;
– the role of song and singing in social processes and historical developments; etc.

We invite proposals for 20-minute individual papers (max. 300 words) or alternative formats (pre-submission inquiry is encouraged). As the aim of this conference is to facilitate dialogue, there will be ample time for discussion and exchange. Please send your proposal, including your name, academic affiliation and a short biographical note, no later than 20 December 2019 to renee.vulto@ugent.be.

For more information, visit: https://www.songstudies.ugent.be/

Odorama: Scent and Scentsuality

With Lauryn Mannigel, Astrid Groot, Klara Ravat, Roald de Boer, Ibo Bakker

29 November, Mediamatic Biotoop, Amsterdam

Why are we attracted to some people and not to others? Many answers that try to explain sexual attraction point towards pheromones as a biological explanation for strong bodily desire. Scent is often seen as the lowest amongst the senses. It is the one that makes no sense, but that often causes the most immediate bodily response. Before you know it, you are drawn to somebody. During this edition of Odorama, we explore the scentsual aspect of scent.

Photo: Anisa Xhomaqi

For more information: Mediamatic

Smell: The Neglected Sense

SYMPOSIUM & EXHIBITION

Though unnoticed, our sense of smell is a major mood determiner. Scents evoke vivid childhood memories. They are part of our identity: we each have a scent that is as unique as our fingerprints.

Even cities have their own specific scent profiles. Still, we tend not to be aware of the profound effects of smell. VU Amsterdam is organizing a symposium on 24 February during which an art and fragrance historian, a psychologist and an artist will elucidate the importance of smell as part of culture. A new VU exhibition will also open that will let you observe that which is invisible, indefinable, elusive and often neglected: smell! Both activities are related to scent historian Caro Verbeek’s PhD dissertation, ‘Aromatic Art (Re-)reconstructed: In Search of Lost Scents’.

A century ago, surrealists like Duchamp and futurists like Marinetti used scents to accentuate their images, exhibition spaces, poetry readings and toys. They used Brazilian coffee beans, erotic perfumes, sulfuric acid, ozone, incense and industrial fumes as means to influence the public. Most of these ‘aromatic interventions’ were intended to provoke, to confuse, to alter people’s mood or to add a sensory dimension. Unfortunately, many of these ‘artistic aromas’ have been lost. These days, artists all over the world are once again working with scents and aromas. The exhibition provides an overview of how international artists and perfumers incorporate scents into their art as they explore the boundaries of ‘visual’ expression.

What does the countryside smell like? The Battle of Waterloo? The moon? The planet Earth? These and other lost and rare scents have been reconstructed thanks to the joint efforts of perfumers, chemists and historians.
Indulge your olfactory sense and give your nose something to sniff at. Register for the symposium and come see the exhibition.

Photo: Copyright Gayil Nalls, People sniffing World Sensorium at midnight 01-01-2000, Time Square, New York

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ISCH Conference Senses, Emotions and the Affective Turn

The next annual conference of the International Society for Cultural History will be held in Umeå, Sweden, 26-29 June, 2017. The general theme this year is ‘Senses, Emotions and the Affective Turn – Recent Perspectives and New Challenges in Cultural History.’

Confirmed keynote speaker: Barbara H. Rosenwein

Please submit papers for panels or the plenary roundtable before 19 December 2017.

Call for Papers ISCH 2017 Umeå

The Secular Sacred: Emotions of Belonging and the Perils of Nation and Religion in Western Europe

International Symposium
The Secular Sacred: Emotions of Belonging and the Perils of Nation and Religion in Western Europe
Date: 10 and 11 November 2016
Venue: The Waalse Kerk, Amsterdam

The past decades have witnessed a spectacular rise of both nationalist and religious sentiments across Europe. Indeed, feelings of home, emotional appeals to community and even the ‘people’ (Volk) are entwined with and fueled by the increasing presence of religion in European public spheres, long considered to have been thoroughly secularized. New nationalists and increasingly the continent’s political and cultural elites frame the presence of religion as a threat to the ‘secular’ character of the nation. At the same time, religious ‘roots’, including what is now indicated as ‘Judeo-Christian’ roots, are mobilized as cultural identities. The nation’s secularism has turned sacred, as it were. In this volatile context, both ‘religion’ and ‘secularism’ have become emotionally charged.

The symposium brings together scholars working on issues of nationalism and religion to develop a postsecular approach investigating in tandem the continued and changing presences of religion and nationalism in Europe.

The categories of religion and secularism are categories of practice. They are not fixed, but constantly changing in often highly contested political and social arena’s. Indeed, both categories are frequently mobilized in political projects. For instance, over the past decades nationalists in the Netherlands have framed groups of Dutch citizens with a migrant background (the so-called allochtones) as ‘religious’ and hence ‘backward’, pitting them against a ‘secularized’ and ‘progressive’ but also ‘Judeo-Christian’ Dutch majority. At the same time, forms of religion – Christian, Islamic, and other forms – have continued to gain ground while becoming entangled with identity politics. Not seeking to define the secular or the religious, the symposium will focus on the boundary work through which both categories are being defined, contested, and re-made in social and political practice.

These shifting qualities of secularism and religion call for a praxeological approach, paying particular attention to the involvement of the body, the emotions and the senses or, more specifically, to ‘embodied practices’, ‘sensational forms’ and sense perception (aisthesis). Such an approach sheds light not only on how the nation and the sacred are mediated, but also on how they deeply take root in people, becoming all the more persuasive. At the same time, taking the established notions of habitus or bodily memory as a point of departure may provide us with a more detailed understanding of how practices may both reproduce and (temporarily) subvert the structures of power. How do such insights help us to understand the complexities involved in how a nation’s or a religion’s imaginaries resonate and may reinforce each other?

Invited speakers are: Jan-Willem Duyvendak, Irene Götz (Munich), Deborah Kapchan (New York), Birgit Meyer, Alex van Stipriaan and Jojada Verrips. Speakers from the Meertens Institute include Markus Balkenhol, Sophie Elpers, Ernst van den Hemel, Peter-Jan Margry, Herman Roodenburg, and Irene Stengs.

Please register by email to Irene Stengs (irene.stengs@meertens.knaw.nl ). Details of the symposium’s program will be announced shortly at on the Meertens Institute website.