The Dean’s office has awarded its first-ever Dean’s Inter-disciplinary Project Grant to a seminar titled “The Sensorium of Reading,” organized by two English faculty, Professors Mary Favret and Chris Cannon, together with Professor Shane Butler of Classics. The seminar, which draws on scholars from KSAS, Peabody, the Libraries and the Med School, will run for three years and aims to understand reading as it draws upon and is shaped by mind and matter alike: within a sensorium.
Prof. Mary Favret speaks of the project:
“Our working group is interested in this variety of reading and its strangeness, current and past, and we aim to consider reading though experiences often cast into shadow by the light of a systematizing and information-driven approach. The title of our project, “The Sensorium of Reading,” calls forth a more holistic understanding of reading as an embodied practice, not necessarily confined to the individual, and undertaken by an amalgamation of eyes, ears, hands, fingers, tongues, throats, necks, backs – as well as brains. We study reading enabled (and sometimes impeded) by light, air, wind, wood, stone, glass, paper, skin and an ever-expanding array of interfaces. Moments of friction– of thwarted, difficult, and supposedly “mistaken” reading — we believe may teach us as much as models of a smoothly operating function. The commitment to reading as a historically situated experience, as equally a process of bodies as of minds, grounds our collective endeavor. The goal is not to minimize the importance of cognition to reading, but rather to expand and enrich the materials with which it works through our shared interests in phenomenology, affect and the physicality of texts.”