Submission deadline:

August 7, 2023

Beyond Vision: Pansensory architectural perception in Stuart England and its moral arguments

March 21–23, 2024
United States

Session funded by the European Architectural History Network (EAHN)
Organiser: Daniel Sik (UCLouvain)
Chair: Anne-Françoise Morel (KU Leuven) 

The ongoing phenomenological turn in architectural theory adopts a critical approach to methods of conceptualising architecture which focuses primarily on vision. Spurred by texts such as ‘The Eyes of the Skin’ by Juhani Palaasma, such an approach can be described as pansensory, advocating ‘design for all the senses.’

However, earlier seminal texts in this tradition present diverse potentialities which the current phenomenological turn in architecture has largely left unexplored. For example, the 1988 article entitled ‘The Rise of Hermeneutics and the Crisis of Ocularcentrism,‘ by Martin Jay, presents the opportunity to reframe anti-ocularcentrism as an ethical and historical occurrence. He identifies “..a now widespread excoriation of what can be called the sins of ocularcentrism,” intimately linked to early Christian iconoclasm, and lingering as a counterpoint to ‘Baroque Vision.’

In this panel, the organizers aim to explore these anti-ocularcentric ideas as a historical and ethical phenomenon, and whether this activates pansensory alternatives to a vision-based recollection of architectural history. The chosen topos is the English Stuart period, a period which seems ripe for a crisis of ocularcentrism. Spanning more than a century, this period encompasses both Puritan iconoclasm and the formation of an ‘English Baroque,’ coinciding with growing interest in interconfessional hermeneutics. Moreover, this period is largely recounted as one of transformation in architectural style  – from chivalric eclecticism to English neoclassicism. This ocularcentric recollection begs the question as to whether a pansensory methodology would allow for richer perspectives on what is an architectural period of immense moral and ethical interest.

This panel invites papers that investigate a ‘moving beyond’ ocularcentric perceptions of architecture within Britain. This includes both the history of anti-ocularcentrism during the Stuart period; as well as readings of Stuart architectural history that exceed vision, such as ethical theories of architecture which address sound, smell, touch or even taste.

Each paper presenter (totaling 3–4) must submit by the 7th of August:

  • paper title (15-word maximum)
  • paper abstract (200-word maximum)
  • resume (.pdf or .doc upload)
  • PhD or other terminal degree completion year (past or expected)
  • full name, current affiliation, and email address.

The full call for papers can be found here.

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