State of the Field: Sensory History
journal contributionposted on 2023-08-30, 19:35 authored by William Tullett
This article surveys the state of the field of sensory history. Thinking historically about the senses has a long history across a range of disciplines heading back through Annales scholars into the nineteenth-century and beyond. Sensory history — which has now attracted its own book series, networks, and centres — has continued to develop alongside the broader interdisciplinary field of sensory studies. The practice of sensory history raises methodological questions about ‘experience’, how historians can extract (or cannot) extract it from the archive, and what role forms of reconstruction can play in understanding the sensory past. Alongside some of these debates, this piece outlines some of the key emerging themes within recent sensory histories, including the relationship between technology, inequality, environments, and the senses. The article finishes with a suggestion that attending to the senses will have an important role to play in decolonizing historical archives and methods.
Publication titleHistory: The Journal of the Historical Association
- Accepted version