The Book of Touch  book cover
1st Edition

The Book of Touch

Edited By

Constance Classen

ISBN 9781845200596
Published July 1, 2005 by Routledge
476 Pages

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Book Description

This book puts a finger on the nerve of culture by delving into the social life of touch, our most elusive yet most vital sense. From the tortures of the Inquisition to the corporeal comforts of modernity, and from the tactile therapies of Asian medicine to the virtual tactility of cyberspace, The Book of Touch offers excursions into a sensory territory both foreign and familiar. How are masculine and feminine identities shaped by touch? What are the tactile experiences of the blind, or the autistic? How is touch developed differently across cultures? What are the boundaries of pain and pleasure? Is there a politics of touch? Bringing together classic writings and new work, this is an essential guide for anyone interested in the body, the senses and the experiential world.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments Fingerprints: Writing About Touch - Constance Classen, Concordia University, CanadaPart I: ContactContact - Constance Classen, Concordia University, CanadaHandshakes Tactile Communication - Ruth Finnegan, Open University, UKThe Social Kiss Skinscapes: Embodiment, Culture and Environment - David Howes, Concordia University, CanadaTouch in the Classroom Handling Children: To Touch or Not to Touch? -Anthony Synnott, Concordia University, CanadaThe Quiet Flow of Touch The American Touch: Tactile Imagery in American Religion and Politics - David Chidester, University of Capetown, South AfricaPart II: PleasurePleasure - Constance Classen, Concordia University, Canada I Want to Hold Your Hand The Pleasures of Touch - Yi-Fu Tuan Thermal Delight Homely Pleasures: The Pursuit of Comfort in the Eighteenth Century - John E. Crowley, Dalhousie University, CanadaScratching Where It Itches Bourgeois Love: Mabel Loomis Todd - Peter Gay The Caress Desiring Touch in Sartre and Beauvoir - Penelope Deutscher, Northwestern University, USAThe Touch of God Part III: PainPain - Constance Classen, Concordia University, CanadaSpeaking of Pain The Language of Pain in India - Judy Pugh, Michigan State University, USAHeadaches The Tortures of the Inquisition and the Invention of Modern Guilt - Ariel Glucklich, Georgetown University, USAStoicism Primate Experiments: Harry Harlow and the Technology of Love - Donna Haraway, University of California at Santa Cruz, USAThe Pangs of Rejection Sex, Pain and the Marquis de Sade - David B. Morris, University of Virginia, USA Part IV: Male BondingMale Bonding - Constance Classen, Concordia University, Canada “Threads of Manly Friendship” The Men’s House: Touching and Wrestling among Mehinaku Men - Thomas Gregor, Vanderbilt University, USAHandymen The Imperial Touch: Schooling Male Bodies in Colonial India, Part I - C.E. Tyndale-Biscoe The Imperial Touch: Schooling Male Bodies in Colonial India, Part II - Satadru Sen, Washington University, USASchool of Hard Knocks Sexuality and the Drill: The Body Reconstructed in the Military Academy - Klaus Theweleit, Freiburg University, GermanyWarrior Love The Dying Kiss: Intimacy and Gender in the Trenches of the First World War - Santanu Das, Cambridge University, UKA Hard Man is Good to Find Part V: Women’s TouchWomen’s Touch - Constance Classen, Concordia University, Canada Women’s Work Saarak’s Crisis: Childbirth and Weaning in an Inuit Community - Jean Briggs, Memorial University of Newfoundland, CanadaBinding Women in China Nu Shu: Female Writing in China Wang Ping, Macalester College, USAFeminine Tactics: Crafting an Alternative Aesthetics in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries - Constance Classen, Concordia University, Canada Throwing Like a Girl Seamstress and Marketwoman: Working Women in Early Twentieth-century Paris - Madeleine Henrey The Mosaic Makers - Karli Whitmore Warrior Women Part VI: ControlControl - Constance Classen, Concordia University, Canada When Can a Man Touch a Woman? On Medieval Manners - Norbert Elias Don’t Touch the Art! Touch in the Museum - Constance Classen, Concordia University, Canada Hands Off! Spouse Beating Bourgeois Perception: The Gaze and the Contaminating Touch- Peter Stallybrass, University of Pennsylvania, USA and Allon White Untouchable In a Victorian Prison: Privations of the Flesh - Philip Priestley Security Crises Part VII: Uncommon TouchUncommon Touch - Constance Classen, Concordia University, Canada Fire in the Mind Phantom Touch in “The Case of George Dedlow” - S. Weir Mitchell Still Life Autism and “The Squeeze Machine” - Temple Grandin Pure Touch Rainfall and the Blind Body - John Hull Balancing Acts Tactilism - F. T. Marinetti What’s Going On In There? Visceral Perception - Drew Leder, Layola College in Maryland, USA Nightmare Touch Part VIII: Tactile TherapiesTactile Therapies - Constance Classen, Concordia University, Canada Dr Touch Magical Healing: The King’s Touch - Keith Thomas Sweat Baths Ayurvedic Medicine and the History of Massage - S. V. Govindan Breathing Spaces: Qigong and Healing - Nancy N. Chen, University of California at Santa Cruz, USAThe Healing Paw A Touch of Danger: The Bedside Manners of the Eighteenth-century Physician - Roy Porter Domesticating Madwomen The Golden Age of Electrotherapy - Caroline Thomas de la Peña, University of California at Davis, USAThe Immune System Part IX: Touch and TechnologyTouch and Technology - Constance Classen, Concordia University, Canada The Mechanized Body Polishing Your Heart: Artisans and Machines in Japan - Dorinne Kondo Modernist Fictions of Speed - Sara Danius, Uppsala University, Sweden Nerve Endings Grasping the Image: How Photographs are Handled - Elizabeth Edwards, Pitt Rivers Museum Research Centre, University of Oxford, UK“Make it Snuggle in the Palm:” The Commodification of Touch - Roy Sheldon and Egmont Arens The Body Retouched Digital Touch - Mark Paterson, University of the West of England, UKWeaving a New World Spacemaking: Experiences of a Virtual Body - Susan Kozel, Simon Fraser University, CanadaVirtual Touch Copyright Acknowledgments Index(No affiliation: no institution, retired or deceased)

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Constance Classen is the author of Worlds of Sense: Exploring the Senses in History and Across Cultures, and The Color of Angels: Cosmology, Gender and the Aesthetic Imagination, among other works.


"This encyclopaedic collection of writings on touch places the subject at the very centre of culture, sociality and technology. A valuable resource which should interest all of those seeking to embody our understanding of human experience, action and society. - Chris Shilling, University of Portsmouth, UK The Book of Touch provides a fulfilling and imaginative traversal of the many landscapes of touch. Constance Classen's deft introductions provide both context for, and commentary on, a constellation of texts - academic and literary, historical and contemporary - whose appearance makes a major contribution to the burgeoning study of the senses. - Tim Barringer, Yale University, USA Get your hands on The Book of Touch. Constance Classen has put together a wonderfully varied anthology on the cultural formations of tactility across vast expanses of time and place. Standing as a sourcebook on everything from kissing to healing to wrestling to scratching, it is without rival. - Leigh E."