CFP for Conference on Sensoria of al-Andalus and Western Mediterranean, UCSC 18-19 Feb 2022

Camilo Gomez-Rivas's picture
Sensoria of al-Andalus & the Western Mediterranean
February 18-19, 2022, University of California, Santa Cruz
Call for Papers (deadline: September 30, 2021)
The Spain North-Africa Project is pleased to announce a call for papers for “Sensoria of al-Andalus & the Western Mediterranean,” an innovative multidisciplinary conference to be held in person on 18-19 February, 2022, at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
This two-day conference will explore the medieval, early modern, and modern legacy of al-Andalus and its afterlives across the world through historical, cultural, sociological, and aesthetic approaches toward human sensoria. In pursuit of an overlapping regional and thematic discourse we also invite sensory research on the Western Mediterranean from antiquity to the present. Themes include but are not limited to auditory, visual, gustatory, olfactory, tactile, and proprioceptive perception in soundscapes, music, language, foodways, smellscapes, visual culture, and architecture. We are especially interested in work that addresses the role of the senses in religious, mystical, affective, creative, and political experience. The goal of this conference is to deepen our understanding of the cultural history of these complex and multifarious cultural formations and to draw connections across time, place, and sensory channels by sharing and discussing the work of historians, art historians, anthropologists, scholars of literature, ethnomusicologists, and others. We welcome work that explores multisensory and intersensory experience, sensory difference and disability, gender and women’s studies, race and ethnic studies, indigeneity, and research on small communities and marginalized groups.
This multidisciplinary approach promises richer perspectives into sensuous life and knowledge in the religiously, ethnically, and politically-diverse regions of al-Andalus and its diasporas. The study of sensory practices in al-Andalus and the Western Mediterranean illuminates processes of identity construction, articulation, and memory; embodiment and emplacement; and the prescription and transgression of boundaries in quotidian settings. Indeed, sensoria, often overlooked, serve as frames for examining dynamics of hegemonic power, difference-making and discrimination, circulation and movement, and mediation. 
Discrete aspects of sensoria serve as agents and markers of place-making, the production of traditionality and modernity, and the dynamic negotiation of practice, identity, kinship, and community. What Andalusi foodways, culinary traditions, and dietary laws persist in diaspora? What are the political ramifications of taste and terroir in the Western Mediterranean? In what ways did everyday soundscapes shift in transitions from Islamic to Christian rule? How are sonic dimensions of North African nationalisms shaped by musical nostalgia for al-Andalus? What discourses on race, class, and noise under-gird framings of Andalusi-ness? What religious and philosophical ideas influenced what the gardens of the Alhambra smelled like? How is 19th- and 20th-century cinema and photojournalism’s nostalgia for medieval al-Andalus instrumental in developing a modern identity for Spain? How does the import of mudéjar architecture in Latin America by way of imperialism/imperial conquest change cityscapes? How can the visual and tactile world of paintings, public monuments, art exhibitions, and world expositions serve as political propaganda? 
The conference will include presentations and discussion of pre-circulated papers and sensorially-engaging group activities. Deadline: Please submit 300-word abstracts, including a title, to Rachel Colwell ( by September 30, 2021. Successful applicants will be notified by early December. We are open to alternative and creative modes of presenting work and invite ideas from applicants’ proposals that can be incorporated into the conference. Lodging and meals will be provided during the conference. Some travel will be covered (with priority given to junior scholars). A segment of the conference will be open to remote participation.
We welcome abstracts from all ranks, including graduate students, early career scholars, and independent scholars. We encourage participation of people from under-represented groups and people with disabilities and aim to create an intellectual environment that is safe, inclusive, and accessible to all. Please let us know how we can accommodate your particular needs during the processes of application, travel, and participation at the conference.
Please share this announcement widely with interested colleagues. You may contact Rachel Colwell ( with any questions or concerns. 
This conference is supported by UCHRI, by The Humanities Institute and the Center for Middle East and North Africa Studies at UC-Santa Cruz, and by the Department of History and Humanities Division at UC-San Diego.  


Camilo Gómez-Rivas
Associate Professor of Mediterranean Studies 
University of California, Santa Cruz
Department of Literature
Humanities Academic Services
1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95064