The Salon and the Senses in the Long Eighteenth Century: 

Interdisciplinary Perspectives 

April 2–3, 2020 

Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey 

The conference “The Salon and the Senses in the Long Eighteenth Century: Interdisciplinary Perspectives,” will explore the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and tactile aspects of the salon, considering the arts and sensory pleasures alongside the poetry, literature, theater, and conversation cultivated there. 


Salons of the long eighteenth century knew no disciplinary boundaries. More than other institutions of the age, salonsoffered their habitués opportunities to engage with a wide range of social, cultural, artistic, literary, and verbal practices. A multidisciplinary approach requires that we—like salon hostesses and guests before us—open our minds across modern intellectual boundaries and reanimate the embodied practices of the institution. We seek to understand the multi-sensory nature of the salon: its sights, sounds, tastes, and smells; its conversations, texts, and subtexts.  


We welcome proposals for conference presentations, performances, or interactive sessions on topics such as:


·      Senses and sensory experience 

·      Material culture, furniture, and fashion 

·      Emotions and expressive culture 

·      Gender, sexuality, and the body 

·      Salons as sites of cultural exchange 

·      Aesthetics and philosophy 

·      Natural philosophy, collecting, and experimentation 

·      Letters and other texts 

·      Music and visual art 

·      Poetry, theater, and the novel 

·      Games, food, and sociability 


Abstracts of up to 350 words and one-page CVs should be sent by September 30, 2019 to jemjones -at- Graduate students and early-career scholars are encouraged to apply. Selected participants will be notified by the end of October. The conference will be hosted by the Center for Cultural Analysis (CCA) at Rutgers University and is convened by the CCA’s “Experiencing the Salon” working group, led by Jennifer Jones (Department of History, jemjones and Rebecca Cypess (Department of Music, rebecca.cypess -at-


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