Workshop: "To see, to feel, to know: Historical perspectives on embodied knowledge(s)"

Join the first of the workshop series events 03.05.2024 by the ERC-funded project ELBOW (Medical Electricity, Embodied Experiences, and Knowledge Construction in Europe and the Atlantic World, c. 1740–1840) about the Historical perspectives on embodied knowledge(s)!

ERC-funded project ELBOW (Medical Electricity, Embodied Experiences, and Knowledge Construction in Europe and the Atlantic World, c. 1740–1840) is launching a series of three workshops to map out the interactions between bodies, experiences, and knowledge construction. The first workshop lays the groundwork by casting a wide net over two-way interactions between embodiment and knowledge construction. The keynote speaker for the event is Professor Karen Harvey, University of Birmingham.


Humanities have recently witnessed a cross-disciplinary ‘bodily turn’ which has increasingly focused on the connections between embodiment, cognition, and knowledge. The influential notion of embodied knowledge has been used to describe both tacit knowledge that resides in the body as well as different forms of knowledge gained through the body. Historians have claimed a prominent place in these investigations, as histories of the body, experiences, and senses have crossed paths with cultural history and history of science in mapping how knowledge of the world has been rooted in the body at different times and places.

The workshop sheds light on how knowledge and embodiment have interacted in different historical, cultural, and social moments and spaces. How did tacit, embodied knowledge relate to empirical scientific knowledge in different historical ages? How did existing cultural scripts, religious dogmas, or scientific worldviews shape embodied knowledge on a practical, individual, experienced level? What sort of (intersectional) power structures influenced whose embodied knowledge was deemed important, trustworthy, appropriate, or scientifically valid? In short: how has bodily experience become knowledge, and how has knowledge become embodied?

The workshop is free to attend, but you should register in advance via this link. More information of the project's website.



9:30 Coffee 

9:50 Workshop opening

10:00-12:00 Session 1 (Chair Cesare Cuttica)
Kalle Kananoja (University of Oulu) – Embodied Knowledge and the Reception of Popular Health Guides in Finland, 1890s–1970
Edna Huotari (University of Helsinki) – Ignored Experiments: The Absence of Early Medical Electricity (1790-1819) in Relation to Electroconvulsive Therapy
Elad Carmel (University of Jyväskylä) – Deism and Anticlerical Materialism in Eighteenth-Century Britain
Sini Mikkola (University of Eastern Finland) – “[…] non quod carnem meam aut sexum meum non sentiam”: Gendered Body and Martin Luther’s Embodied Knowledge

12:00-13:30 Lunch break 

13:30-15:30 Session 2 (Chair Elise Garritzen)
Annika Raapke (University of Helsinki) – The Hand That Cuts The Bread: Some Thoughts on 18th-Century Swedish Bodies Encountering Medical Electricity
Stefan Schröder (University of Helsinki) – Always Be Honest and Don’t Get Fooled! Applying And Evaluating Medical Electricity in The Mid-18th Century
Eva Johanna Holmberg (University of Helsinki) – Coloniality, Embodied Knowledge and Suffering in early Jamestown, c. 1607-1620.
Anton Runesson (University of Stockholm – Zoom) 

15:30-16:15 Coffee break 

16:15-17:45 Keynote: Professor Karen Harvey (University of Birmingham) – From the Inside Out: Social Embodiment and Lay Knowledge in eighteenth-century British Letters
Chair Soile Ylivuori

17:45-18:45 Wine and nibbles