New Media & Society: Archaeologies of Touch

Review of Archaeologies of Touch by David Parisi

A material history of haptics technology that raises new questions about the relationship between touch and media

In Archaeologies of Touch, David Parisi traces a history of the technoscientific study of the sense of touch and development of haptics in human–computer interfacing, a subject long-obscured by ocularcentric biases that privilege sight as the dominant sense when designing and studying media. In doing so, Parisi tells the often-ignored stories of medical researchers, psychologists, computer scientists, and engineers who experimented and tinkered with touch in laboratories from the 18th to 21st centuries, and he examines the contributions of touch and other senses to “the dreams of connecting bodies seamlessly through networks” (p. xvi).


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