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The Senses in Medieval and Renaissance Europe

Multi-disciplinary persepectives in sensory studies

Editors: Ann Buckley Edward Coleman Carrie Griffin Emer Purcell
Publishing Manager: Guy Carney

Method of peer review
for more information contact the Publishing Manager

Senses, Taste, Touch, Smell, Sight, Sound, Sensory, Sensations, Europe, 500-1500

Accepted Language(s):

Accepts Contributions in Open Access


The history of the Senses is a rapidly expanding field of research which is attracting  increasing attention in medieval and renaissance scholarship. The past twenty years have witnessed a noticeable turn towards analysis of past sensory worlds as a gateway to a deeper comprehension of  mental landscapes and value systems. In Europe during the Middle Ages and Renaissance preoccupation with the human senses and with divine control over them is highly visible in a range of  narrative texts, scientific treatises, creative literature, as well as the visual arts and music. Sensory experiences were manifold. The clanging of bells, the odour of sanctity, the touch of healing, the taste of spices, eye-witness descriptions and ‘second sight’ all  formed part of the vivid tableau of the medieval and renaissance world. Drawing on the work of leading specialists and taking account of theoretical approaches to Cultural Studies, the series aims to uncover meaning and explore  interpretations of sensations. The subject area is  strongly inter-disciplinary. It has potential linkages with other innovative research concerns such as the study of the history of emotions, gesture and disability, and it makes a valuable contribution to the history of medicine. The proposal is linked to a  series of international conferences devoted to the theme of the five senses. The inaugural meeting, on 'Sight and Visual Perception', took place in University College Dublin in March 2016. The first volume of the series will contain  selected papers from this conference  and include essays by leading scholars in the field  such as Professor Chris Woolgar (University of Southampton), Professor Elizabeth Robinson  (University of  Glasgow) and Professor  Richard A.Eltin (University of Maryland), as well as an impressive and diverse range of early-career scholars. The second conference on 'Sound and auditory perception' is scheduled for April 2019. The series will be a significant addition to the growing body of literature in the field of sensory studies such as the multi-volume Cultural History of Senses , Bloomsbury 2016 ( Vol.1 The Middle Ages, vol.2 The Renaissance) ;  Re-thinking the Medieval Senses. Heritages, fascinations and Frames, John Hopkins University Press 2008; and the research appearing on an ongoing basis in the Journal The Senses and Society, Taylor Francis, 2006-.


    Editorial Board:

    Dr Laura Cleaver, Department of History of Art and Architecture, Trinity College Dublin.
    Professor Richard Newhauser, Department of English, Arizona State University.
    Professor Herman Roodenburg,  Meertens Instituut, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, Amsterdam