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Capitalism and the Senses: Some Reflections

Add to calendar 2023-09-15 16:00 2023-09-15 17:30 Europe/Rome Capitalism and the Senses: Some Reflections Via Zoom YYYY-MM-DD


15 September 2023

16:00 - 17:30 CEST


Via Zoom

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This session in the framework of the ERC ECOINT-CAPASIA projects summer talks features a lecture by David Suisman (University of Delaware).


Growing out of Capitalism and the Senses (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2023), a volume I co-edited with Regina Lee Blaszczyk, this presentation reflects on the sensory history of capitalism—the ways that seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, and touching have shaped, and been shaped by, business enterprise from the early twentieth century to our own time. From the stench of the stockyards to the saccharine sounds of Muzak, everyday sensory environments have been made and remade by capitalism, and as portals through which we take in knowledge of the world, the senses have been subject to manipulation, exploitation, and commodification. If, as Karl Marx contended in 1844, the senses have a history, then that history is intertwined with the development of capitalism, which has drawn on the embodied power of the senses and, in turn, influenced how sensory experience has changed over time. At the intersection of the history of capitalism and the history of the senses, this presentation considers some of the strengths and weaknesses in the recent surge in scholarship on sensory capitalism and directions that that work may productively go.

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