1.2. Interpreting the senses


Interpreting the senses


Ai Hisano, University of Tokyo

Ai Hisano is a historian of business, technology, and the senses. Her current project explores a history of aesthetics (sensory and emotional perceptions) in the capitalist system. She is the author of Visualizing Taste: How Business Changed the Look of What You Eat (Harvard University Press, 2019).

Sven Kube, Florida International University

Sven is a historian of culture, business, and technology. Trained in History, Cultural Studies, and Communications, Sven researches cultural industries and popular entertainment. His first book explains the significance of music records as cultural commodities in East-West cultural competition during the Cold War. Sven’s second project investigates how different forms of social and economic organization shape cultural aesthetics.

The chair of this session is: Sven Kube (Florida International University)

Description of workshop 

This session focuses on the historical study of sensory experiences–from a business history angle: their production, distribution, and consumption–as a central aspect of developments in human civilization.

Ai Hisano will discuss the senses as a lens to better understand industrialization, mass production, mass consumption since the 1870s, and the rise of consumer capitalism. She will discuss source material such as trade journals, government documents, popular magazines, and cookbooks. Using the Cold War context as a framework for inquiry, Sven Kube will address differences in sensory experiences in East and West. He will focus on the creation/production and reception/consumption of popular music. 

For more information or if you wish to participate in this workshop, please check this document.