Empire of the Senses

Sensory Practices of Colonialism in Early America


Volume Editors: and
Empire of the Senses brings together pathbreaking scholarship on the role the five senses played in early America. With perspectives from across the hemisphere, exploring individual senses and multi-sensory frameworks, the volume explores how sensory perception helped frame cultural encounters, colonial knowledge, and political relationships. From early French interpretations of intercultural touch, to English plans to restructure the scent of Jamaica, these essays elucidate different ways the expansion of rival European empires across the Americas involved a vast interconnected range of sensory experiences and practices. Empire of the Senses offers a new comparative perspective on the way European imperialism was constructed, operated, implemented and, sometimes, counteracted by rich and complex new sensory frameworks in the diverse contexts of early America.

This book has been listed on the Books of Note section on the website of Sensory Studies, which is dedicated to highlighting the top books in sensory studies: www.sensorystudies.org/books-of-note

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Daniela Hacke, Ph. D (1998), Cambridge University, is Full Professor of Early Modern History at the Free University of Berlin. She has published monographs, translations and many articles on European Gender and Cultural History and is currently researching a History of the Senses in Venice.

Paul Musselwhite, Ph.D. (2011), The College of William and Mary, is Assistant Professor of History at Dartmouth College. He researches and publishes on early British America and the development of plantation society.
“This volume edited by Hacke and Musselwhite presents substantial, thought-provoking research in the blooming field of sensory history of the Americas, allowing for a deeper understanding of early modern European association of specific sensory regimes with imperial authority.”
Paola von Wyss-Giacosa, University of Zurich. In: Emotions, Vol. 2, No. 2 (2018), pp. 347-349.

List of Illustrations
Notes on Contributors

Introduction: Making Sense of Colonial Encounters and New Worlds
Daniela Hacke and Paul Musselwhite

Part 1: Cultural Encounters

1 Touching on Communication: Visual and Textual Representations of Touch as Friendship in Early Colonial Encounters
Céline Carayon
2 Mission Soundscapes: Demons, Jesuits, and Sounds in Antonio Ruiz de Montoya’s Conquista Espiritual (1639)
Jutta Toelle
3 Singing with Strangers in Early Seventeenth-century New France
Michaela Ann Cameron

Part 2: Colonial Subjectivity

4 The Pain of Senses Escaping: Eighteenth-century Europeans and the Sensory Challenges of the Caribbean
Annika Raapke
5 Color Visions: Perceiving Nature in the Portuguese Atlantic World
Marília dos Santos Lopes

Part 3: Structures of Knowledge

6 Colonial Sensescapes: Thomas Harriot and the Production of Knowledge
Daniela Hacke
7 Merian and the Pineapple: Visual Representation of the Senses
Megan Baumhammer and Claire Kennedy
8 “Delightful a Fragrance”: Native American Olfactory Aesthetics Within the Eighteenth-century Anglo-American Botanical Community
Andrew Kettler

Part 4: Colonial Projects

9 The Aromas of Flora’s Wide Domains: Cultivating Gardens, Aromas, and Political Subjects in the Late Seventeenth-century English Atlantic
Kate Mulry
10 Exploring Underwater Worlds: Diving in the Late Seventeenth-/Early Eighteenth-century British Empire
Rebekka von Mallinckrodt

All interested in the history of the senses, and anyone concerned with the history of European expansion, imperialism and colonialism in the early modern world.
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