SENSOTRA* Pre-Seminar

“Sensory Transformations” 3th of July 2017, Ljubljana


What most scholars within the humanities seem nowadays to agree on is that smell, hearing, touch, taste, and vision are historical, i.e. they are not universal but products of place and time. The pre-seminar “Sensory Transformations” is organised in the frame of the European Research Council funded AdG Project Sensory Transformations (SENSOTRA). It endorses the view held by Cultural Studies of Technology (CTS) that technology is always cultural. SENSOTRA extends this stance by emphasizing that sociocultural processes and the specific agency or “lifeness” of media technologies themselves are mutually constitutive.

Proponents of the “sensory revolution,” such as Michel Serres in Five Senses, and David Howes in Empire of the Senses are turning their backs on language and the linguistic turn, which implies the textualization of everything from dance to sound. In contrast, an emergent trend in “new materialist musicology” attempts to bring its scholarly focus to bear squarely on the dynamic materiality of human music-making bodies as well as the other materialities actively affecting the sonic and sensed situation.

The field of anthropology of the senses has developed over the past ten years and we are honoured to present one of the pioneers Professor David Howes from Concordia University. He will give a keynote lecture in pre-seminar offering some new perspectives on Sensory Studies.


No fees and inscription required - all are welcome.

Addresses: Stara mestna elektrarna (Old Power Station), Slomškova ulica 18, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia



More information:

SENSOTRA ERC AdG 2015 694893 (/en/web/sensotra)

AKTE project (

*This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 694893).




Monday, July 3

Morning sessions





Welcome speech, projects presentations


(1) Opening words: Professor Rajko Muršič


(2) SENSOTRA project presentation: Professor Helmi Järviluoma-Mäkelä: Introduction to the Study of Sensory Transformations


(3) AKTE project presentation: Dr Annu Haho & MA Mari Jolkkonen: Touch as a part of the Professional Skills and Ethics in Elderly Care – Introducing AKTE project



Panel discussion: Sensory Dimensions in Ethnographic Fieldwork


Laura Formenti (chair, Epistemological groundings)


(1) Presentation: MPhil Inkeri Aula: Affective Atmospheres in Playing Capoeira


(2) Presentation: MSSc Sonja Pöllänen: Recent Studies on Transgenerational Environmental Relationships, Aging and Place


(3) Presentation: MA Mari Jolkkonen: Seeking to Understand Physical Touch and its Meanings in Home Care of Elderly People


(4) Presentation: MA Sandi Abram: Sensing the City: Sensory Experiences in a Biopolitical City


Lunch break (12:30—14:00)





Afternoon sessions



Keynote session & Discussion


(1) Lecture: Professor David Howes: Sensing Cultures: The Rise of Sensory Anthropology


(2) Lecture: Adjunct professor Taina Kinnunen (and Marjo Kolehmainen): Touch as an Affective Practice


Coffee break (15:30—16:00)



Sensory Transformation in Focus


Prof. Helmi Järviluoma-Mäkelä (Chair, Embodied remembering and senses): The art and science of sensobiographic walking


(5) Presentation: Dr Juhana Venäläinen: Sensory Commons: Sensory Commons: Scenting the Air for a Political Economy of the Sensory


(6) Presentation: Dr Milla Tiainen: Rethinking Mediations of Experience as Trans-Corporeality 


(7) Presentation: Dr Blaž Bajič: Running as a Way of Becoming