Sensation

2. sensesThemes of the body and feelings of movement are being developed in my next book project, How We Became Sensory-Motor: Mapping Movement in Modernity. The book consists of two parts. The first charts the historical development of Aristotle’s aisthêsis, the sense faculty, whose influence persisted well into the early modern period, and how the neurophysiological discoveries of Charles Bell’s ‘muscle sense’ (1826), H. Charlton Bastian’s coinage of ‘kinaesthesia’ (1880) and Charles Sherrington’s ‘proprio-ception’ (1906) advanced those understandings of the body and bodily sensation. The second part explores how parallel discoveries by the physiologist Etienne-Jules Marey on the chronophotographic recording of bodily movement filter into the concept of the ‘motricity’ of the ‘body schema’ of Merleau-Ponty (via Husserl), and considers implications for more contemporary contexts of bodily movement, gesture, and performance.

 

proprioceptionResearch from this project is appearing, article in Essays in Philosophy (2012) and book chapters in Geographical Aesthetics (2015), Touching and To Be Touched (2013), and Understanding Merleau-Ponty, Understanding Modernism (2016). My doctoral thesis Haptic Spaces (2002), and subsequent monograph The Senses of Touch: Haptics, Affects and Technologies (Berg, 2007), involved a broadly postphenomenological approach developed from Husserl and Merleau-Ponty, in conjunction with feminist philosophies of the body (especially Grosz, Young, Wyschogrod) and philosophies of technology (e.g. Hayles, Ihde). In addition, my co-edited collection Touching Space, Placing Touch (Ashgate, 2012) has contributions written by social scientists on theoretically-engaged novel studies of the role of touch within spatial contexts, along with empirical work on the re-emergence within cultures of late capitalism of tactility and the body.