What is the relationship between naming and touching? This symposium explores the haptic effects of names as well as the attempt to name haptic experience through the lens of anthropology, performance studies, philosophy, and psychoanalysis.

The experience of language, specifically of names, shapes subjectivity by impacting one’s relationship to one’s body and the bodies of others. Designators indexing race, class, gender, religion, and status configure haptic relations. How do given names affect the ways one is touched from infancy onwards? How are other names received throughout one’s life — such as nicknames, slurs, or praises — inscribed upon the skin? How do these names open up or constrain the kinds of haptic experiences one can have with other subjects or collectives?

Naming touch can bring visibility to different kinds of haptic experiences, presumably allowing for greater protection, knowledge, communication, and heightened sensations and emotions. Yet naming touch can also stigmatize, normalize, and suppress haptic desires and experiences. What is the effect of naming touch? Are there kinds of touch that evade being named, such as those related to violence, trauma, or intense pleasure? What does the attempt to translate these haptic experiences do to language itself?

In English

15:30 Introduction
Rachel Aumiller and Iracema Dulley

16:00 – 18:00 Panel I

Goran Vranešević:
The Weight of a Touch: The Soft Underbelly of Representation and Naming

Maria José de Abreu (online): Epistemology of the Clause: Portugal 1953

Ashwak Hauter: Physics of Affinity: Physicians or Magicians?

Moderator: Sam Dolbear

18:00 Coffee Break

19:00 – 21:00 Panel II

Iracema Dulley: The Voice in Rape

Bara Kolenc: The Omnipotence of Words:
From Protection to Provocation

Stefania Pandolfo: Words Renounced Their Status as Speech and Changed
in Certain Things Resembling Pebbles

Moderator: Sarath Jakka

15:00 – 18:00 Sci-Fi Anatomy Workshop with Emma Bigè and Lea Kieffer (internal)

This workshop will delve into reclaiming and revisiting the complex legacies of the visual body.

18:00 Coffee Break

19:00 – 20:30 Panel IV

Rachel Aumiller: A Hesitant Caress:
An Ethic of Intimacy with Irigaray

Rosalind Morris: NAMING, TOUCHING:
An Ear for the Other

Moderator: Özgün Eylül İşcen

Organized by

Iracema Dulley and Rachel Aumiller 


Maria José de Abreu
Rachel Aumiller
Emma Bigè
Iracema Dulley
Ashwak Hauter
Lea Kieffer
Bara Kolenc
Rosalind Morris
Stefania Pandolfo
Goran Vranešević

KV Naming Touch

Image credit: Rima Salamoun, 2020