Bridges Lectures Series - Touch - March 27, 2019

St. Jerome's University
Wednesday, Mar 27, 2019 at 7:30 PM EDT 
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Event Details

Arithmetic, geometry, music and astronomy were at one time linked under the umbrella of “the liberal arts.” However, recent decades have seen the increasing separation of these fields. As university programs become more specialized, the gap widens and the respective approaches and lexicons of Arts, Science, and Mathematics grow increasingly distant. The Bridges Lecture Series aims to rediscover points of affinity among academic disciplines.

The metaphor of the bridge captures the spirit of our endeavor: to bring these fields back into productive dialogue; to raise questions that are essential to scholars in Arts, Science, and Mathematics; and to provide specialists and non-specialists alike with compelling and enriching information that uncovers the possibilities and opportunities that exist on the bridge between disciplines. Our guiding goal is to coax audiences out of their intellectual comfort zones, and to transcend narrow discipline-specific avenues of academic inquiry.


In past seasons, the Bridges Lecture Series has hosted scholars of Architecture, English, Fine Arts, History, Music, Philosophy, Politics, Religious Studies, and Sociology in addition to Mathematicians. Last season we added scientists to the roster, and several of our upcoming lectures will feature teams of Arts- and Science-based speakers.


Lectures take place at the St. Jerome’s University Academic Centre in the 300-seat Vanstone Lecture Hall, with live streaming available on YouTube for those who cannot attend in person.


With the continued support of our partners, we look forward to providing you with another exciting season. We look forward to your participation at our final lecture of the 2018-19 series, taking place on Wednesday, March 27, 2019 and featuring Amelia DeFalco and India Morrison.


Bridges Lecture Series Organizing Committee Members

Benoit Charbonneau            Alysia Kolentsis                Paul Craig

Touch: the science and culture of contact in more-than-human worlds

Amelia Defalco (Medical Humanities) and India Morrison (Neuroscience) provide an overview of how human social, emotional touch may have emerged from multiple brain mechanisms governing attachment and physical closeness between individuals. Mammalian brains have tweaked and elaborated these mechanisms in various ways, each driven by a fundamental problem: how to keep physically unattached bodies, such as those of parents and offspring, from straying too far away from each other. Social touch solves this problem by triggering and maintaining emotionally-mediated bonds, invigorating our desires to “stay” or “return”, and evoking feeling states ranging from the contentment of being close to the agony of separation. In the human brain, neural signals of affective touch are likely even integrated into semantic pathways that generate language and meaning. Through these brain-level processes, our skin becomes a touch-operated curtain to emotional intimacy—at times protecting us, at times opening us to the minds of others. 



Do I need a ticket?

Our ticketing system will issue you a ticket that we require you to present (electronically/hard copy) before entering the lecture hall. When you register your participation using the "Tickets" system to the right, our event support staff use this information to arrange for reception food service and to help anticipate seating  requirements.  When registrations exceed available seats we will begin a waiting list for this event and will notify you of other seating/viewing options.

Your registration in advance of each lecture is greatly appreciated.


Touch is the last in the Bridges 2018-2019 series! We look forward to another great year of lectures beginning in the fall 2019.


The Bridges Lecture Series organizers gratefully acknowledge the ongoing support of our partners:

St. Jerome's University
University of Waterloo, Faculty of Arts
University of Waterloo, Faculty of Mathematics
University of Waterloo, Faculty of Science
Fields Institute


Chris Eliasmith (Neuroscience)
October 17, 2018
University of Waterloo
Paul Thagard (Philosophy/Cognitive Science)
October 17, 2018
University of Waterloo
Edward Burger (Mathematics)
November 21, 2018
President, Southwestern University, Georgetown
Victoria Star Varner (Fine Arts)
November 21, 2018
Southwestern University, Georgetown
Amelia DeFalco
March 27, 2019
Medical Humanities
India Morrison
March 27, 2019


St. Jerome's University
290 Westmount Road North Waterloo, ON N2L 3G5 CA


Touch - March 27, 2019

Organizer Details

Logo - St. Jerome's University

St. Jerome's University

Federated with the University of Waterloo