Smelling the Humanities

  • Bob Davidson, Spanish and Catalan Studies, University of Toronto; and Director, Northrop Frye Centre
    Coach House, Green College, UBC and livestreamed

    Tuesday, March 5, 5-6:30 pm with reception to follow
    Coffee and tea will be available at 4:30 pm in the Piano Lounge, Graham House
    in the series
    Cecil H. and Ida Green Visiting Professor
  • We don’t truly appreciate our sense of smell until it’s temporarily gone. Yet, even still, it doesn’t get much respect. In the hierarchy of the senses, sight’s reign has been indisputable – with hearing following close behind. Meanwhile, smell and its erstwhile companion, taste, have long been treated as afterthoughts amongst the humanities. In this talk, Bob Davidson will argue that in the face of declining enrolments, attacks on our so-called “utility,” and the rise of AI and the virtual, it is more important than ever that we destabilize this hierarchy and incorporate smell and taste into our research and especially into our teaching. He proposes that by learning to smell the archive and taste the text, we can activate ourselves and our students in new ways and together experience a novel approach to transformational learning in the humanities.

    Note: this talk will involve smelling and tasting!

    Co-organized with French, Hispanic and Italian Studies.

    Bob Davidson is a Professor of Spanish and Catalan and faculty at the Culinaria Research Centre, specializing in theories of food and hospitality. Author of Jazz Age Barcelona (shortlisted for the Canada Prize) and The Hotel: Occupied Space. His latest project, The Scent of Spain: Fragrance, Odour and Culture, looks at key fragrances and smells that were part of Spain’s modern experience. Prof. Davidson currently serves as Director of the Northrop Frye Centre at Victoria College and as Chair of the Manuscript Review Committee of University of Toronto Press. In 2022, he was awarded the XXXIV Premi Josep M. Batista i Roca – Memorial Enric Garriga Trullols for the promotion of Catalan culture abroad. He takes his martini with a little extra vermouth and an olive.

  • Unless otherwise noted, all of our lectures are free to attend and do not require registration.

March 5th, 2024 from  5:00 PM to  6:30 PM
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