The sense of smell is one of the five fundamental senses we communicate with the outside world. Unlike other purposes, reasons such as the lack of its own language and inability to touch or see have led to its neglect, lack of importance, and lack of discussion for thousands of years. In this discussion, where we will address the fundamental mechanisms of this sense, which is believed to be filled with unknowns and often exploited, and its essential aspects such as memory, reproduction, and its dominant role in nutrition, we will inevitably touch upon the economic and social changes caused by the trade of scented substances worldwide. How did the commercial structures created for the business of fragrant substances contribute to the birth of our capitalist system?
Writer, researcher, and perfumer Vedat Ozan (born 1959) is the founding instructor of the “Cultural History of Scent and the Senses” course at Istanbul Bilgi University’s Graduate Program in Cultural Studies. Ozan, who hosted the “Scent” program on Açık Radyo for over 150 weeks and created and presented the 20-episode video series “Vedat Ozan ile Ufkun 2 Katı” on the Pena channel, has also served as a project coordinator and photography instructor at İFSAK in the past.
In addition to his professional independent perfumery work, Ozan has conducted various training programs on the senses, inter-sensory transitions, the mechanisms of scent and taste perception, and their cultural implications. Known for his expertise in “scent” and “scent within taste perception,” he has published articles on scent perception in various domestic and international academic and popular journals. Currently, alongside his perfumery work, Ozan conducts sensory education programs that focus on scent perception and provides consultancy on scent perception and education to institutions.
Ozan has authored four books titled “Kokular Kitabı” (The Book of Scents), “Kokular Kitabı Parfümler” (The Book of Scents: Perfumes), “Kokular Kitabı Kültürler” (The Book of Scents: Cultures), and “Kokular Kitabı Lezzetler” (The Book of Scents: Flavors) published by Everest Publications. Among these books, “Kokular Kitabı Lezzetler” was awarded in the Food Writing category by the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in 2019.