Graduate course: Theorizing Medieval Sound: Medieval Sonic Worlds

In this interdisciplinary seminar, we bring four major theoretical works — Carolyn Dinshaw’s How Soon Is Now?: Medieval Texts, Amateur Readers, and the Queerness of Time, Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology of Perception, Kathleen Stewart’s Ordinary Affects, and Salomé Voegelin’s Sonic Possible Worlds: Hearing the Continuum of Sound — into active dialogue with the texts, musics, and objects of the European Middle Ages to consider just how close we might come to hearing the sonic worlds of past historic epochs. With primary readings ranging broadly across mystical, music theoretical, poetic, philosophical, chivalric, dramatic, and musical works, we study medieval sound cultures and the production of sonorous meanings for medieval listeners in all their complexity. At the same time, we investigate how phenomenology, queer theory, affect theory, and sound studies can challenge us to rethink prevailing attitudes towards the body, the senses, media, and the past. By taking critical theory and medieval sound as equal objects of study, we aim to investigate what theory reveals about the sonorous past, where theory fails in the endeavor, and how we might work creatively with those failures to devise new modes of embodied scholarship. No previous knowledge of medieval vernaculars or music theory required.

To register, please contact Andrew Albin:

Andrew Albin
Associate Professor of English and Medieval Studies
Chair of Undergraduate Studies, Medieval Studies Program
Fordham College at Lincoln Center

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