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Durham University

Centre for the History of Medicine and Disease

Provisional Programme

'The Stimulated Body and the Arts: The Nervous System and Nervousness in the History of Aesthetics' Conference

Hatfield College, Durham - 17-18 February 2011 

17th February 2011

10:00-10:50 - Registration and tea/coffee - Birley Room, Hatfield College 

10:50-11:00 - Welcome from Organisers 

11:00-12:30 - Panel 1: Nerves, Embodiment and Eighteenth-Century Aesthetics

  • Carolyn Purnell (Chicago) - Good Vibrations: Enlightenment Aesthetics and the Physiology of Pleasure
  • Darren Wagner (York) - Conduits of Pleasure: Nerves, Animal Spirits and Seed in British Reproductive Physiology, circa 1660-1780
  • Marieke Hendrikson (Leiden) - Nervous Impulses: the Aesthetics of Anatomy in Eighteenth-Century Preparations of Nerves and Sensory Organs

12:30-13:30 - Lunch 

13:30-15:00 - Panel 2: Nerves in Twentieth-Century Literature

  • Zoe Svendsen (Cambridge) - '(Don't) look behind you!' Attention, Distraction and Participation in Theatres of Modernity
  • Leo Mellor (Cambridge) - Reading the 'Airman's Alphabet': Representing Self-Discovery and Self-Creation in the Literature of the 1930s
  • Glyn Salton-Cox (Yale) - 'This Type of Boy always Reverts' - Christopher Isherwood's Queer Lumpenproletariat 

15:00-15:15 - Tea/Coffee 

15:15-16:45 - Panel 3: Music and Nervousness

  • James Kennaway (Durham) - 'Menstrual Mischief': Music, Nerves and Gynaecology in the Nineteenth Century
  • Eva Siebenborn (Bochum) - The Pathologisation of Music and the Voice in Nineteenth-Century Medicine, Literature and Music
  • Wiebke Thormaehlen (Southampton) - Physical Distortion, Mental Disturbance and the Rhetoric of the Musical Virtuoso 1730-1830  

16:45-17:30 - Tea/Coffee - Opportunity to visit the Cathedral 

17:30-19:00  - Keynote Lecture:

  • Professor George Rousseau - Nervous Energies, Structural Forms, and Pictures in the Mind: Confronting the Language of the Soul 

19:30 - Dinner - Oldfields Restaurant, Durham


18th February 2011 

09:15-10:45 - Panel 4: Early Modern Music and Nerves

  • Penelope Gouk (Manchester) - Music and the Nerves in English Medical Thought c.1660-1750
  • Stefano Cracolici (Durham) - The Colours of Tarantism: Matteo Zaccolini's 'Prospettiva del colore'
  • Ingrid Sykes (Warwick) - Pulse and the Sonic Imagination in Eighteenth-Century France                

10:45-11:00 - Coffee/tea break 

11:00-12:30 - Panel 5: Nerves in Eighteenth-Century and Romantic Aesthetics

  • Aris Sarafianos (Ionannina) - A Vital Antique for a New Sensorium: Realism, Reform and the Parthenon Sculptures
  • Tomas Macsotay Bunt (Leeds) - Diderot's Neveu de Rameau and the Pathology of Artistic Failure
  • Dolores Martin (Geneva) - Picturing Melancholy in the early Nineteenth Century: The Impact of Mesmerism and Galvanism in Romantic Aesthetics 

12:30-13:30 - Lunch 

13:30- 15:30 - Panel 6: Twentieth-Century Nerves

  • Simon Pawley (UCL) - Youth in Russia's 'Nervous Age', 1900-1917
  • Johanna Conterio (Harvard) - The 'Landscape Shock': Nature and Nervism in the Soviet Sanatorium, 1950-1960
  • Susan Lanzoni (Wellesley) - Embodied Aesthetics? Einfühlung/Empathy Theories at the Turn of the Twentieth Century
  • Tiffany Watt-Smith (Queen Mary) - Henry Head and the Theatre of Distractions: Nervous Stimulation, Introspection and Aesthetic Experience in 1903 

15:30-15:45 - Tea/Coffee            

15:45-17:15 - Panel 7: The Body and Nineteenth Century Music

  • Tobias Leibold (Bochum) - The Human Brain and the Divine Original Language. On a Neuroanatomic Pattern of Explanation in Romantic Music Theory
  • Bernardino Fantini (Geneva) - The Biological and Medical Model of the Musical Forms in the Classic and Romantic Periods (To be confirmed)
  • Manuela Schwartz (Magdeburg) - The Influence of Common Musical Practice on Concepts and Ideas of Medicine and Music in the Nineteenth Century