Periods and Waves: A Conference on Sound and History
(Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY—April 29–30, 2016)

Plenary Speakers
Emma Dillon (Professor of Music, King’s College London)
Stefan Helmreich (Professor of Anthropology, MIT)
Alexander Rehding (Professor of Music, Harvard University)
Emily Thompson (Professor of History, Princeton University)

Deadline for Proposals: Dec. 31, 2015

Sound, like history, describes a dynamic terrain. Scholars concerned with the convergence of sound and history have, in the wake of the “sensory turn” in the humanities, worked to generate clear narratives from data that resists fixity, that seems to be in constant motion. The shared aims of sound studies and history have yielded a rich body of scholarship that interrogates, for example, the noisy illuminations of medieval songbooks, acoustic control in modern architecture, sound and the moving image, accounts of deafness and synaesthesia, and the production of aural subjects through consumer technology. The practice of thinking sound historically and history sonically is driving the growth of fresh methodologies and compelling new interpretations of sources.

Periods and Waves: A Conference on Sound and History is co-organized by the Department of Music, Department of Philosophy, and the School of Health Technology & Management at Stony Brook University, with the aim of bringing together humanities scholars and humanistic scientists, particularly those working in sound studies. We welcome submissions for 30-minute papers, panels, and workshops from scholars in the myriad disciplines that investigate past aural cultures, including musicology, ethnomusicology, history, anthropology, medical history, art history, philosophy, religion, disability studies, acoustics, and sound studies.

Paper topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • sound studies methodologies
  • theoretical, philosophical, and empirical limits of “sound studies”
  • sonic geographies
  • visual residues and inscriptions of past sound
  • histories of sonic technology
  • music as sound and/or sound as music
  • past understanding of the meaning and power of sound
  • historically oriented readings of the recent sonic past
  • sound and non-normative sensoria
  • sound, power, and race
  • digital sonic histories

More specific topics may include:

  • aural cultures of wartime
  • the acoustical life of musical venues
  • sonic technology and cultural conceptions of the human
  • sound and bodily movement
  • transduction
  • bells
  • the acousmatic
  • historically referential sound in postwar European urban planning
  • Baroque acoustic effects
  • sonic encounters in the New World
  • sonic signification in the polytextual motet

Please send abstracts of 250-300 words to PeriodsandWaves@stonybrook.edu. The final deadline for abstracts is December 31, 2015. In your email, please include a separate document stating your name, your institutional affiliation and position, if any, and your paper’s audiovisual requirements. If you have any questions, please contact Erika Honisch (erika.honisch@stonybrook.edu) or Benjamin Tausig (benjamin.tausig@stonybrook.edu).

Banner Image courtesy of Martin Honisch