Mark Paterson, PhD

  • Associate Professor & Director of Undergraduate Studies
  • Affiliate Faculty in College of General Studies (CGS), Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies (GSWS), Urban Studies, and Center for Bioethics and Health Law

Mark Paterson is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Pittsburgh. He has an interest in the sociology of the body and the senses, especially as they relate to technology. Along with articles published in humanities and social science journals, he is author of the books The Senses of Touch: Haptics, Affects and Technologies (Routledge, 2007), Seeing with the Hands: Blindness, Vision and Touch After Descartes (Edinburgh University Press, 2016), Consumption and Everyday Life (Routledge 2006; Second Edition 2017), and co-editor of Touching Place, Spacing Touch (Routledge, 2012). His most recent book is How We Became Sensorimotor: Movement, Measurement, Sensation with University of Minnesota Press (2021). His current research project is concerned with the role of embodiment in the histories of human-robot interactions.

He is on the Editorial Board of the journals The Senses and SocietyEmotion, Space & Society, and Multimodality and Society.

For more detailed information on research and publications see his website or profile.

Education & Training

  • PhD, University of Bristol
  • MA, University of Warwick
  • BA (Hons), University of Reading

Representative Publications


How We Became Sensorimotor: Movement, Measurement, Sensation. University of Minnesota Press. 2021.

Consumption and Everyday Life, 2nd Edition. Routledge. 2017 

Seeing With the Hands: Blindness, Vision and Touch after Descartes. Edinburgh University Press. 2016 

Touching Space, Placing Touch (Co-editor, with Martin Dodge). Routledge. 2012 

The Senses of Touch: Haptics, Affects and Technologies. Routledge. 2007

Articles (Selected)

Pykett, J. & Paterson, M. (2022) ‘Stressing the ‘body electric’: history and psychology of the techno-ecologies of work stress’, History of the Human Sciences DOI: 10.1177/09526951221081754

Paterson, M. (2021) ‘The Birth of Motion Capture: Transcribing the Phenomena of Bodily Movement Through the ‘Graphic Method’’, Multimodality and Society 1(2): 195-215. DOI: 10.1177/26349795211040323

Paterson, M. (2021) ‘Hearing gloves and seeing tongues? Disability, sensory substitution, and the birth of neuroplastic subjectivity’, invited contribution to Special Issue ‘Symmetries of Touch’ Eds. H. Schmidgen & R. Ladewig, Body and Society. DOI: 10.1177/1357034X211008235

Paterson, M. & Glass, M. (2020) ‘Seeing, feeling and showing “bodies-in-place”: Exploring reflexivity and the multisensory body through videography’, Social and Cultural Geography 21(1): 1-24. DOI: 10.1080/14649365.2018.1433866

Paterson, M. (2019) ‘On pain as a distinct sensation: mapping intensities, affects, and difference in “interior states”’, Special Issue: ‘The Body in Pain: A Re-engagement’, Eds. L. Dawney & T. Huzar, Body and Society 25(3): 100-135. DOI: 10.1177/1357034X19834631

Paterson, M. (2018) ‘The Biopolitics of Sensation, Techniques of Quantification, and the Production of a ‘New’ Sensorium’, Resilience: A Journal of the Environmental Humanities, Special Issue: ‘Common Senses and Critical Sensibilities’ 5(3): 67-95. Project MUSE

Paterson, M. (2017) ‘On haptics, tactile interactions, and the possibility of a distinctly “haptic media”’, New Media and Society 19(10): 1541–1562. Special Issue: ‘Haptic Media Studies’, Edited by D. Parisi, M. Paterson, & J. Archer. DOI: 10.1177/1461444817717513

Paterson, M. (2017) ‘Architecture of Sensation: Affect, Motility, and the Oculomotor’, Body & Society 23(1): 3-35. DOI: 10.1177/1357034X16662324

Paterson, M. & Glass, M. (2015) ‘The World Through Glass: Developing Novel Methods with Wearable Computing for Urban Videographic Research’, Journal of Geography in Higher Education 39(2): 275–287. DOI: 10.1080/03098265.2015.1010143

Research Interests

  • The body, senses, and technology in history and theory
  • Haptic technologies, accessibility, and assisted living
  • Disability Studies, especially critical histories of blindness
  • Robotics and the mixed spaces of human-robot interactions
  • Sociology of the body and embodiment
  • Science, knowledge, and technology
  • Sociology of consumption

Research Grants

2022. IASH-SSPS Visiting Research Fellow. Institute of Advanced Studies in the Humanities – School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh. Science, Technology and Innovations Studies (STIS), 1 September to 31 December 2022.

Dietrich School Humanities and Social Science Research Fund, University of Pittsburgh, to support two ‘Disability and Experience’ events in 2019-2020, Rosemarie Garland-Thomson (Emory) in October 2019 and Shaun Gallagher (Memphis) in April 2020

Work Forces: Mobilizing the Visual and Material Cultures of Labor, Andrew W. Mellon funded collection-based week-long workshop hosted by History of Art and Architecture Department at the University of Pittsburgh

Humanities Center Collaborative Faculty Research Award, University of Pittsburgh. Medical Humanities speaker series ‘Writing About Illness, Thinking About Health’ 

Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences ‘Year of Healthy U’ Award, University of Pittsburgh

Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences ‘Year of Diversity’ Award, University of Pittsburgh

Arts and Sciences Award, University of Pittsburgh. ‘Developing Novel Methods with Wearable Computing for Urban Ethnographic Research’ 

Humanities Center Faculty Fellowship, Spring 2017 

Special Initiative to Promote Scholarly Activity in the Humanities, University of Pittsburgh (with Dr. M. Chirimuuta, History and Philosophy of Science). ‘Evolving concepts of body sensation and motor control in the neuroscience of movement’, 2015

Scholar in Residence, McAnulty College, Duquesne University, 2011-2012

Royal Geographical Society (RGS) Small Research Grant. ‘In the Footsteps of the Blind Traveller: An historical geography of non-visual exploration’ 

AHRC and EPSRC Science and Heritage Research Cluster. ‘Touching the untouchable: increasing access to archaeological artefacts through virtual handling’

GWR Studentship Award. £55,600 for three-year PhD project student to work with OC Robotics Ltd. ‘Enhancing social presence within human-robot interaction through the snake- skinned robot arm’, co-funded with Great Western Research consortium (GWR).

AHRC Research Leave Award. Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC), £14,000 to complete monograph ‘The Senses of Touch’, including matched funding from Faculty Research Leave scheme, University of the West of England (UWE).