Dr. Mojca Ramšak: Anthropology of Smell and Chemistry

Please join us for the invited talk by Dr. Mojca Ramšak on Anthropology of smell and chemistry, on Tuesday, 6 June 2023 at 13:00 in the large lecture hall of the first floor of the National Institute of Chemistry, Hajdrihova ulica 19, Ljubljana. The talk will be in Slovenian.

About the talk:

The anthropology of smell examines socially and culturally determined perceptions of smell and culturally specific properties of smell. Because smell has long been considered the inferior of the senses, the antropology of smell is interested in, on the one hand, the sociocultural factors that influence odour perception and cultivation, and, on the other hand, the odours that shape our attentiveness to others, our cultural identity, our social relations, and our power relations. In addition, the anthropology of smell examines the symbolic dimensions of smells in everyday life, ranging from love to hatred of the “other”, and the ways in which smells are verbalised. In an applied sense, the athropology of smell, in its interdisciplinary breadth, is involved in the didactic forms of presenting smells from the past in museums, galleries, and libraries, in the use of stimulations and imitations of smells produced for consumer needs, and in the social consequences of the new technologies of artificial smell (e-nose) that are already being used in several fields. 

In addition to unfolding the field of the anthropology of smell, Dr. Mojca Ramšak will also highlight points of contact between humanistically conceived olfactory research and natural science, ranging from taxonomic models of olfactory classification, which are necessary for the conceptual transparency of this field, to modern heritage research on past smells in the museological profession.


Mojca Ramšak obtained her PhD in Ethnology at the University of Ljubljana, and is Professor of Cultural and Social Anthropology at the University of Ljubljana and Professor of Anthropology at AMEU-ISH, Faculty of Postgraduate Studies in Humanities.

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