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Conferences & lectures

Sentience Lecture Series

Co-sponsored by the Centre for Sensory Studies and the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Society and Culture (CISSC)


Jonathan Balcombe, Lauren Hayes, David Garneau, Maureen Matthews, Natasha Myers, Chris Salter, Jennifer Gabrys


This event is free


Centre for Sensory Studies, Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Society and Culture



Electronic device with mother board visible and cords protruding in many dirrections is on a pile of fallen branches, rocks covered in moss and dirt. © Lauren Hayes. Photo taken during the Ars Bioarctica Residency, Kilpisjärvi Biological Station, Finland, 2017.

This virtual lecture series will probe the bounds and varieties of sentience. The aim is to arrive at a general theory of sentience, in all its multiplicity. All lectures are held via Zoom. Follow the links to the individual events to learn more and register.

Questions include:

  • What is sentience?
  • Is it contingent on the possession of a nervous system?
  • How is sentience distributed beyond the human?
  • How does sentience differ from intelligence (including Artificial Intelligence)?

Topics include:

  • Plant-sensing
  • Animal senses
  • Human sentience
  • Environmental-sensing
  • Animate artefacts
  • Machine-sensing
  • New media art

Sentience is organized by David Howes, professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. Sponsored by the Centre for Sensory Studies and co-sponsored by the Centre for the Interdisciplinary Studies in Society and Culture (CISSC) and two CISSC Working Groups: Colonial, Racial and Indigenous Ecologies (CRIE) and Sensing Atmospheres.


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