Sense Data and Sensitivity in an Age of Precarity

“Feminism and the Senses” is a lecture series that addresses how social movements around gender, sexuality, and race have a crucial relationship to sense data, sentimentality, and sensitivity—as in the accusation that women who speak out against injustices are just “too sensitive.”  In our current globalizing world of precarity and speculative finance, news reports tune-in their listeners to the sensitivity of financial markets to interest rate changes, habituating those in the global North to the sensitivity of impersonal entities such as financial markets. At the same time, the lag-time between technological inventions and their unsettling effects on people’s health and social well-being mean that only retrospectively do we realize the moral, social, and ecological costs consequent upon our lack of sensitivity to future risks, or to those populations predominantly bearing risk or whose injuries are discounted as politically negligible.

This project opens up for collective exploration the question of which sensory registers have been favored by our scholarly disciplines where they intersect with feminist and queer activism. At the same time, this series aims to catalyze reflection on the “sensitizing concepts” that have historically been of value to feminist and queer scholarship and those prospective concepts arising in other social justice movements that have yet to become sensitizing to feminism.

Past Feminism + the Senses Events

February 13, 2018

Complaint As Diversity Work

Sara Ahmed

December 1, 2017

Exhibit Tour: Weaving Generations Together: Evolving Creativity in the Maya of Chiapas

Patricia Greenfield

November 13, 2017

Immersive Journalism, Breaking the Frame, and the Gender Struggle in Virtual Reality

Nonny de la Pena

October 24, 2017

Breaking the Silence on Hooking Up

Lisa Wade and Victoria Marks

February 23, 2017

Testing Tampons

Sharra Vostral


May 17, 2016

Ungridable Ecologies

Natasha Myers

Me & TinaREV2

March 10, 2015

If You Should Leave Me

Daphne Brooks


October 28, 2015

Refusing to Eat

Nayan Shah