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Sound at SCMS 2014

"KEXP, Seattle" by Flickr user Curtis Cronn, CC BY-ND-ND 2.0

SCMSlogo-roundWith a wide array of departmental affiliations and disciplinary backgrounds represented among its society membership, as well as an active and creative leadership, the annual meeting of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies is an excellent place to get a sense of where sound studies is and might be heading in the academy. To help read those tea leaves at this year’s upcoming conference in Seattle, we are thrilled to welcome one of the key figures working at the intersection of sound and media today, Denison University Communications Professor Bill Kirkpatrick.

Bill is not only a first-rate scholar — he’s at the forefront of emerging work on sound media and disability — but he’s also a producer, one of the people behind Cinema Journal‘s podcast Aca-Media, which is helping to show how sound can be not only a media studies topic, but a way of doing media studies. As one of the co-chairs of the Radio Studies Scholarly Interest Group at SCMS, Bill has also taken a leadership role in promoting the work of many other scholars, and we’re excited to hear from him on the state of the field. Here are his thoughts and a curated guide for how to make the most of the conference in the Emerald City this year.

- SCMS/ASA Editor Neil Verma

The Society for Cinema and Media Studies is clearly in a boom period for sound studies. In interviews for the March episode of Aca-Media, SCMS programmers Angelo Restivo and Bruce Brasell each noted the extraordinary rise in papers on sound as one of the key trends in the field, and the 2014 schedule bears this out with nearly 150 papers related to sound, music, and radio—an average of thirty each day of the conference, which will take place in Seattle from March 19-23.

Last year, in his 2013 SCMS preview for SO!, Neil Verma sounded a little nervous that this rise in sound-related papers was somehow too good to be true: “This year may mark the point at which sound studies became – likely temporarily, and perhaps distressingly – normal.”  It might be temporary, but the quantity and variety of papers on sound again this year is definitely not distressing. Even more than last year, this year’s conference goes well beyond radio, music, and soundtracks to offer papers on sound in airplanes, in museums, in video games, and on phones, as well as governmental policies connected to sound and more.

Here are some trends and highlights I noticed while going through the schedule:

  1. In my first read-through, I was alarmed by what appeared to be a decline in the number of radio-themed papers and panels.  We know that SCMS is still establishing itself as a good place for radio studies, which the still-nascent Radio Studies Scholarly Interest Group is beginning to help, but it would have been nice to see a few more panels in this area.  After my second reading of the schedule, however, it’s fairer to say that radio is holding steady, especially if we count podcasting. I hope to catch a lot of these papers, and you can’t go wrong with any of the Radio Studies SIG-sponsored panels (marked by * below). In the “something different” category, I’m particularly interested in Matt Sienkiewicz’s paper on “Radio Islam” in Afghanistan and Lana Lin’s “Psychoanalytic Reading of Upton Sinclair’s Mental Radio,” which will look at the intersections between radio and telepathy in the early social imaginary.
  2. Last year Neil urged sound studies to “keep it weird,” and there are definitely some papers this year that fit that bill. One of my favorites is Stephen Groening’s study of how the airplane environment affects issues of immersion and distraction, which is one of those topics I wish I’d thought of first.  I also hope to catch a paper by Dimitrios Pavlounis on how silent films before 1920 used the detective dictograph as a plot device, constructing the idea of sound recording in a silent medium. Sarah Street’s “Synthetic Dreams: Color-Film-Music in the 1920s” will examine some notable sound-image experiments (including Eisenstein’s) during the 1920s. And though I don’t know anything about it but the title, Todd Decker’s presentation on “Helicopter Music” has got to be good, right?
  3. For a town with as storied a musical history as Seattle, the music offerings this year do little to take advantage of place (something that Neil also noted regarding last year’s conference in the even more storied city of Chicago). Nonetheless there are all kinds of cool papers on music and musicals. Given the Beatles nostalgia this year, William Gombash’s paper on the promotional films for “Penny Lane” and “Strawberry Fields Forever” seems apropos; pair it with Jessica Fowler on “The Monkees and the Birth of New Hollywood” and a talk on Elvis Presley’s musicals by Amanda McQueen for a DIY ’60s pop-musical mini-conference.  Or you could go the other direction with a panel on Wagner (H13) and several intriguing papers on opera (look for the papers by Sabine Hake, Ling Zhang, and Jennifer Fleeger).
  4. This is a good year for technologies of sound, from the cinematic apparatus to the architecture of listening spaces.  See, for example, Meredith Ward’s paper on “Architecting Listening in the Cinema House” or Rafael Freire on “The Conversion to Sound in Brazil,” to give just two interesting examples.
  5. The Scholarly Interest Groups for Sound Studies and Radio Studies will each be holding business meetings with special programming.   The Sound Studies SIG will meet over lunch on Friday (3/21, 12:15-2:00 in Ballard).  The Radio Studies SIG will meet the next morning (3/22, 9:00-10:45 in Ballard) and will feature a talk by folks from Seattle indie rock station KEXP about radio in a streaming age.
"Tower Records Seattle Music Mural" by Flickr user Zoomar, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

“Tower Records Seattle Music Mural” by Flickr user Zoomar, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

To help you navigate these and the other offerings, I’ve provided not one but two conference guides. The first is arranged chronologically for all the sound-related panels. The second is arranged topically in four categories (Sound & Soundtracks, Music & Musicals, Radio and Podcasting, and Other: Museums, Airplanes, Phones, Video Games, and Policy).  I’ve also added content notes on just a few papers where I’ve been in contact with the author and learned a bit more about the talk.  I apologize in advance for the inevitable errors and omissions! [please report any flubs to SO! ASA/SCMS Special Editor Neil Verma, nkhv@soundingoutblog.com, we'll make corrections as needed]

In closing, what should we look for—or at least hope for—from SCMS in 2015?  I’ll list my three biggies:

Music:  The quantity of papers this year on opera and classical music in film and media, while still small, suggests that SCMS might finally be emerging as a conference for music scholars beyond pop music, and I hope this trend will continue.  I can’t get into the methodological and theoretical rifts within the discipline of musicology here, but for years Norma Coates, Tim Anderson, and many others have been working to make SCMS a viable alternative to the dominant musicology conferences that, in large and small ways, are hostile to (or simply wrong for) critical-cultural music scholars, especially if their topic has a TV/film component. So let the word go out that they are welcome here!  As a side note, can someone please take better advantage of the amazing history of music in Montreal next year?

Sound:  Nothing to complain about here—sound is alive and well. I would like to see a few more papers on television and sound, and one could argue that the aesthetic and economic analyses of sound could be supplemented with more papers on political and social dimensions of sound.  But overall sound studies seems to be in excellent shape at SCMS.

Radio:  I’m not pessimistic about radio studies at SCMS, but it is also not where I had expected it to be at this point.  We need to encourage more international scholars to participate, and we can hope that the Montreal venue will make it easier and more attractive for European radio scholars—of whom there are many—to apply. Thematically, there remains a troubling “donut hole” in radio scholarship that I hope more scholars will address:  we have lots of work on early radio (into the 1950s), and lots of work on contemporary radio and podcasting, but that leaves a half-century gap that doesn’t receive nearly enough scholarly attention.  In other words, radio studies is far from exhausted, so I hope that radio scholars and the RS SIG can make 2015 a year of growth and diversification for radio at SCMS.

* = Sponsored by the Radio Studies Scholarly Interest Group

** = Sponsored by the Sound Studies Scholarly Interest Group

Featured Image: “KEXP, Seattle” by Flickr user Curtis Cronn, CC BY-ND-ND 2.0

Bill Kirkpatrick is Assistant Professor of Media Studies in the Communication Department at Denison University in Ohio. His research interests include broadcast history, media and disability, and media policy. He is currently working on an anthology on media and disability and a monograph on the intersections of radio and disability in the 1920s and ‘30s. He is also a co-producer of the film and media studies podcast Aca-Media (www.aca-media.org).

"Bumbershoot procession, 1974" by Flickr user Seattle Municipal Archives, CC BY 2.0

“Bumbershoot procession, 1974″ by Flickr user Seattle Municipal Archives, CC BY 2.0


I. Chronological Index
Jump to WEDNESDAY, MARCH 19, 2014
Jump to THURSDAY, MARCH 20, 2014
Jump to FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014
Jump to SATURDAY, MARCH 22, 2014
Jump to SUNDAY, MARCH 23, 2014

II. Topic Index
Jump to SOUND & SOUNDTRACKS
Jump to MUSIC & MUSICALS
Jump to RADIO/PODCASTING
Jump to OTHER

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I. CHRONOLOGICAL LIST

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 19

Session A 10:00 – 11:45 a.m.

A4: French Auteurs: Becker, Demy, Bresson, Bunuel

Tracy Cox-Stanton, SAVANNA COLLEGE OF ART AND DESIGN, “Film Sound, Footsteps, and Unvoiced Desire in Bresson’s “Pickpocket” (1959) and Bunuel’s “Belle du Jour” (1967)”

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A10: Knowing the Score

Kevin Donnelly, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHAMPTON, “Phantom Power: Electrifying an Old Silent Film”

Ariane Lebot, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY, “Composing the Narrative: Bernard Herrmann’s Contribution to De Palma’s ‘Obsession’ (1976)”

Megan Alvarado Saggese, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA BERKELEY, “From Sound to Cinema: Dissonance and Disruption between Adorno’s Theory of Film and Kagel’s “Antithese””

Christine Sprengler, UNIVERSITY OF WESTERN ONTARIO, “‘The Broom That Sweeps the Cobwebs Away’: Vertigo’s Soundtrack as Sound Art”

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A16: Re-viewing Feminisms

Elizabeth Watkins, UNIVERSITY OF LEEDS, “Gesture and the Female Voice”

Alexander Russo, CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY OF AMERICA, “Androids as the New ‘Other’: Janelle Monae’s Feminist Afrofuturism in The Metropolis Suite” (focuses on the sonic attributes of race and gender, as well as her engagement with the sounds of masculine black music of the second half of the 20th century)

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Session B 12:00 – 1:45 p.m.

B6: Policy: The Law and other Gatekeepers

Birk Weiberg, ZURICH UNIVERSITY OF THE ARTS, “Roy J. Pomeroy, Dunning Process Co., Inc., and Paramount Publix Corporation vs. Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc., Vitaphone Corporation, and Frederick Jackman: How the Movie Industry Learned about Patents.”

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B15: Promotional Culture

William Gombash, VALENCIA COLLEGE, “The Evolution of Media Convergence and Popular Music: The Promotional Films for “Penny Lane” and “Strawberry Fields Forever”” (will include discussion of how the Beatles recorded the songs and how the evolving nature of the complexities of the production of their music mitigated against live performances)

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B19: Avant-garde Aesthetic Strategies

Dustin Zemel, LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY, “Polyphony and Documentary Presentness”  (explores the idea of Bakhtinian literary polyphony and it’s relationship/relevance to film, using Jonas Mekas’s The Brig as an example of how overlapping voices in the soundtrack can effectively facilitate the presentation of multiple, autonomous presences.)

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Session C 2:00 – 3:45 p.m.

C6: Narrative Forms of/and American Authorship

Paul Cote, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND, “Encountering Sonic Memories: Sound, Childhood, and Escapism in Steven Spielberg’s “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.””

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C8: The Spaces of Media Production and Consumption

Meredith Ward, NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY, “Black Boxes and Rich, Repressed Sounds: Architecting Listening in the Cinema House”

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C10: Listening to Films: Cinematic Sound and Media Culture in East Asia

Nicole Huang, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN, MADISON, “Listening to Films: Radio and Communal Film Culture in 1970s China”

Kerim Yasar, UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME, “Otozukuri: Affect, Ontology, and Techne in Early Japanese Radio Drama and Talkie Sound Effects”

Giorgio Biancorosso, UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG, “Double Agents and The Poor Man’s Orchestra: Music and the Aesthetic of the Self in *Chunking Express* (1994)”

Ling Zhang, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO, “The Flowing Ambiguity of Soundscape: Female Voice-over in Spring in a Small Town and Fei Mu’s Chinese Operatic Sound Aesthetic”

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Session D 4:00 – 5:45 p.m. 

D4: The Globalization of Post-Millenial Persian Media

Matt Sienkiewicz, BOSTON COLLEGE, “Uncle Sam’s Koran: American Broadcasting, Koranic Values and Hybrid “Radio Islam” in Afghanistan”

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D6: Objects: The Medium Is the Material

Paul Jasen, CARLETON UNIVERSITY, “Infrasound: Spectres of the Manmade Unknown”

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D10: Physician, Heal Thy Selfie

Stephanie Brown, UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS, URBANA-CHAMPAIGN, “‘A Waiting Room That Doesn’t Suck’: Negotiations of Agency, Authenticity, and Community in the “Mental Illness Happy Hour Podcast””

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D13: New Histories of Animation

Lora Mjolsness, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, IRVINE, “Sound, Synchronization, and Subversion: The Early Animation of the Brumberg Sisters”

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D15: Distribution in the Digital Age

Tim Anderson, OLD DOMINION UNIVERSITY, “Why Don’t We Give it Away?: Value and “Free” for an Emerging Music Industry”

Jeremy Morris, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN, MADISON, “‘App’etite for Digitization: App-based Albums and the Virtual Commodification of Music”

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"Sub Pop 20th Anniversary!" by Flickr user Rakka, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

“Sub Pop 20th Anniversary!” by Flickr user Rakka, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0


THURSDAY, MARCH 20

Session E 9:00 – 10:45 a.m. 

E1: Gender and Contemporary Technologies

Jacqueline Vickery, UNIVERSITY OF NORTH TEXAS, “Mobile Phones, a Girl’s Best Friend?: How the Mobile Phone Industry Legitimizes Surveillance, Commodifies Talk, and Genders Technology”

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*E10: Sound: Aesthetics and Ideology

Justin Morris, UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO, “Radio Ranch: Emergent Seriality in 1930s Film and Radio”

Paula Musegades, BRANDEIS UNIVERSITY, “Silence is Golden: Aaron Copland’s Film Score for “The Heiress””

Yuki Takinami, UNIVERSITY OF TOKYO, “The Issue of Sound-Cinema Aesthetics in Early-1930s Japan: Theory and Practice”

Alejandra Bronfman, UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA, “Screeches, Static, and Silence: The Fragmented Terrain of Caribbean Radio”

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E13: Deleuzian Aesthetics

Justin Horton, GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY, “Vibration, Resonance, Deformation: Deleuze’s Soundful Aesthetics”

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E19: New/Media/Art/Objects

Alison Wielgus, UNIVERSITY OF IOWA, “Watch Out! The World’s Behind You: Warhol’s Exploding Plastic Inevitable and the Promises of Expanded Cinema” (discusses the influence of La Monte Young and drone music on the Exploding Plastic Inevitable, and how the live performance of such music creates a new context for interpreting the Warhol films screened during the events; unfortunately Alison will not be able to attend the conference, but you can contact her for more information)

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Session F 11:00 – 12:45 p.m.

F1: Reconsidering Psychoanalysis and Media Studies: Towards a Productive Intersection

Lana Lin, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY,  “Are These Thoughts My Own?: A Psychoanalytic Reading of Upton Sinclair’s “Mental Radio””

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F5:  Margins of the New Wave: Japanese Cinemas of the 1960s

Michael Raine, UNIVERSITY OF WESTERN ONTARIO, “Music, Musicals, and the Margins of the Japanese New Wave”

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F16: Feminist Approaches to War Media

Debra White-Stanley, KEENE STATE COLLEGE, “Combat Medicine, Gendered Trauma, and Audio-Vision” (an interdisciplinary integration of sound studies with the idea of “women at war”)

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F17: Negotiating Race in Digital Spaces

Sarah Florini, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN, MADISON, “Networked Enclaves: Black Podcasters’ Responses to the George Zimmerman Verdict”

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**F18: Documentary Sound and the Global City

Rita Safariants, VASSAR COLLEGE, “The Gig is in the Boiler Room: Filming Leningrad’s Rock-n-Roll Counterculture”

Josh Glick, YALE UNIVERSITY, “The Renegade in the Network: Joe Saltzman, CBS, and Soundtrack Innovations”

Ashish Chadha, UNIVERSITY OF RHODE ISLAND, “Sound in the City: Experimental Documentaries of Films Division in India”

Noelle Griffis, INDIANA UNIVERSITY, “Telling it Like it Is: The Camera as Voice in AFI Supported Minority Youth Films of the 1960s”

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Session G 1:00 – 2:45 p.m.

**G18: Between Speech, Music, and Noise: The Voice in Recent Film and Television

John Richardson, UNIVERSITY OF TURKU, “Between Dialogue and Sound: The Voice, Audiovisual Flow, and the Aestheticizing Impulse”

Robynn Stilwell, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY, “Walking and Talking and Singing and Dancing: Axes and Boundaries in the Television Soundscape”

Claudia Gorbman, UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON, TACOMA, “The Master’s Voice”

Mitchell Morris, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, LOS ANGELES, “Fictions of the Facture: Vocal Realities in “Velvet Goldmine”

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Session H 3:00 – 4:45 p.m.

H3: Negotiating Identity, Belonging, and Citizenship in Transnational Latino Communities in the US

Veronica Zavala, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SANTA BARBARA, “Alivianadas: Spanish-Language Radio Incentives”

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H4: French Film Archives: New Findings, New Forms

Charlie Michael, EMORY UNIVERSITY, “The Lescure Report and the Future of French Audiovisual Policy” (an analysis of the participatory blog that the French Ministry of Culture launched to have a public discussion about audiovisual reform)

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*H9: Regionalism, Accent, and Dialect at the BBC, 1930-1955

Debra Rae Cohen, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA, ““There’s No Such Thing as Reet”: Reclaiming Region in Burbleton””

Ian Whittington, UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI, “Regional Voice, National Crisis: J.B. Priestley as Second World War Radio Celebrity”

Emily Bloom, GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY, “Speaking Oirish: The BBC Third Programme and Irish Drama”

Damien Keane, UNIVERSITY AT BUFFALO, “A Back-Window on Belfast: W.R. Rodgers’ The Return Room”

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H13: Cinema & Wagner

Amy Stebbins, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO, “Being Richard: History, Myth, and the Biopic”

Rebekah Rutkoff, CUNY, “Towards a Complete Order: Markopoulos and Wagner”

Ken Eisenstein, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO / BUCKNELL UNIVERSITY, “‘All Things Pass Into the Night’: Music, Montage, and Wagner in Billy Wilder’s “Love in the Afternoon” (1957)”

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*H15: Branded Entertainment of the Past

Kathryn Fuller-Seeley, GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY, ““The Dean of Radio Salesmen” vs. “The Huckster”: Jack Benny’s Struggle with Sponsor Lucky Strike, 1944-1948″

Cynthia Meyers, COLLEGE OF MOUNT SAINT VINCENT, “The Problems of Branded Entertainment: BBDO, Sponsors, and Blacklists on Radio and Early Television”

Lauren Bratslavsky, UNIVERSITY OF OREGON, “Soft Hands and Soft Westerns: The True Stories of Death Valley Days, 1930-72″

Andrew deWaard, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, LOS ANGELES, “Marty Weiser, Exploitation Agent: Product Placement, Publicity, and the Tie-Up Business in Hollywood, 1940-1980″

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H19: Intermedial Modernisms: Cinema’s Expanded Horizons in the 1920s

Sarah Street, UNIVERSITY OF BRISTOL, “Synthetic Dreams: Color-Film-Music in the 1920s”

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H25: Once More with Feeling: Audiences, Origins, and Affect in the Hollywood Musical

Desiree Garcia, ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY, “Life Upon the Wicked Stage: The Origins of the Hollywood Show Musical”

Sean Griffin, SOUTHERN METHODIST UNIVERSITY, “Don’t Fence Me In: B Studio Musicals’ Appeal to Marginalized Audiences”

Caryl Flinn, UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN, “The Kitschy Feelings of Kitschy Musicals”

Kelly Kessler, DEPAUL UNIVERSITY, “I Dreamed a Dream of Close-Ups Gone By: “Les Misérables” and the Visual Excess of Stage-to-Screen Transfers in the FX Era”

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Session I 5:00 – 6:45 p.m.

I4: Museum as Medium: Technology, Spectatorship, Space

Karine Bouchard, UNIVERSITY DE MONTREAL, “(Im)mobilized Sound: Towards Listening Experiences in the Museum Exhibition.”

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**I10: Sounds of Labor: Musicians’ Employment in Hollywood’s Transition to Sound

Jennifer Fleeger, URSINUS COLLEGE, “Putting Opera to Work: Song, Stardom, and Labor in the Vitaphone Opera Shorts”

Rob King, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY, ““I Want Music Everywhere”: Underscoring in the Hal Roach Studios’ Early Sound Films”

Daniel Goldmark, CASE WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY, “The Musical Roots of “The Jazz Singer””

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I11: Rethinking Wong Kar-wei: New Approaches to an Established International Auteur

Angelo Restivo, GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY, “Wong Kar-wai: Sound + Image”

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I19: Makes Me Feel Some Kinda Way: Television and Black Women’s Affect

Racquel Gates, COLLEGE OF STATEN ISLAND, CUNY, “The Ratchet Public Sphere: Love and Hip Hop Atlanta and Black Women’s Culture”

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"Musicians and dancers at Pike Place Market, circa 1972" by Flickr user Seattle Municipal Archives, CC BY 2.0

“Musicians and dancers at Pike Place Market, circa 1972″ by Flickr user Seattle Municipal Archives, CC BY 2.0


FRIDAY, MARCH 21

Session J 9:00 -10:45 a.m.

J1: What Is “The Symbolist Temptation?” The Aesthetics of Symbolism in Transnational Cinema

Tami Williams, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-MILWAUKEE, “A Music of Silence: Abstraction and Sensation in Belle Époque Symbolist Theater and 1920s French Art Cinema”

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J3: Brazilian Cinema Revisited: Technologies, Exhibition, Reception

Rafael Freire, UNIVERSIDADE FEDERAL FLUMINENSE, “The Conversion to Sound in Brazil”

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*J10: Radio and Other Sounds

Hannah Spaulding, NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY, “Eavesdropping as Entertainment: The Enormous Radio and Shut Up Little Man!”

Jack Curtis Dubowsky, ACADEMY OF ART UNIVERSITY,  “The Music of Brokeback Mountain”

Ming-Yuen Ma, PITZER COLLEGE, “Noises of Protest: Sound, Race, and Violence in Christian Marclay’s Guitar Drag and Paul D. Miller’s Rebirth of a Nation”

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J19: Race, Gender, and the Body in Found Footage Film

Jaimie Baron, UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA, “Unintentional Singers and Racial Ventriloquism in Contemporary Found Footage Videos” (Explores how found footage (remix) videomakers are literally making their (speaking) subjects sing and how this constitutes a form of ventriloquism)

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Session K 12:15-2:00 p.m.

*Meeting of the Sound Studies Scholarly Interest Group

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K9: Medium and Method in “Early Television” History

Kate Newbold, NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY, “Television Ontology and Media Methodology: Exploring Televisual Fragmentation in Phonograph, Broadcast, and Print Industries, 1926-1940″

Luke Stadel, NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY, “Radio/Television/Sound, 1922-1941″

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K18: Revisiting Kurosawa

Michael Bourdaghs, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO, “Hearing the Cold War: Kurosawa Akira’s Soundtracks and Soviet Film Theory”

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Session L 2:15-4:00 p.m.

**L10: Sound Waves: Technology and Practice in Film Sound

Charles O’Brien, CARLETON UNIVERSITY, “Multi-Track Sound and the Battle of Paris: American and German Films for French Distribution”

Eric Dienstfrey, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN, MADISON, “Splits, Quad, and the Psychedelic: Dolby’s Rear Channels Examined”

Katherine Quanz, WILFRID LAURIER UNIVERSITY, “The Industrial Impact of Toronto’s Transition to Digidesign Technology in the Mid-2000s”

Benjamin Wright, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, “Atmos Now: How Dolby is Transforming the Art and Craft of Sound Mixing”

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"Sound Garden" by Flickr user The Kozy Shack, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

“Sound Garden” by Flickr user The Kozy Shack, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0


SATURDAY, MARCH 22

Session M 9:00-10:45 a.m.

*Meeting of the Radio Studies Scholarly Interest Group (featuring guests from KEXP to talk about radio in a streaming age)

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M4: What is Socialist Realism? Reexamining Soviet Post-montage Cinema

Vincent Bohlinger, RHODE ISLAND COLLEGE, “Soundtrack Design in Soviet Early Sound Film”

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M7:  Playing with Avatars

Lyn Goeringer, OBERLIN CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC, “No Avatar Required: Audio-reactive Games and Physical Connectivity”

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**M10: Global Approaches to Film Sound

Pavitra Sundar, KETTERING UNIVERSITY, “Thinking Sound, Rethinking History in Hindi Cinema”

James Lastra, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO, “From Mickey Mouse to Peter Kubelka”

Esra-Gokce Sahin, HARVARD UNIVERSITY, “Soundscape and Humor in Acharaka Comedy in Prewar Japan”

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M16:  Hispanic Musicals: Nationalisms and Transnational Stars

Valeria Camporesi, AUTONOMOUS UNIVERSITY OF MADRID,, “Latin Stars, Spanish Women: Lola Flores in the 1950s”

Ana Lopez, TULANE UNIVERSITY, “La Vecindad: A Musical Space for the Mexican Cinema”

Dolores Tierney, SUSSEX UNIVERSITY, and Sergio de la Mora, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, DAVIS, “Re-mapping Mexican Cinema of the 1970s: Music and Female Sexuality in Zona Roja”

Enrique Garcia, MIDDLEBURY COLLEGE, “From Brechtian to Hollywood Approach: The Hispanic Community and Salsa Music in the Documentary Our Latin Thing (Nuestra Cosa) and the Biopic/Musical El Cantante”

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M17: Forms of Non-Fiction: Voices, Realisms, Disciplines, Shadows

James V. Catano, LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY, “Voiceover and the Essay Film”

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Session N 11:00-12:45 p.m.

N2: The Precarious Aesthetic in Contemporary Moving Images

Arild Fetveit, UNIVERSITY OF COPENHAGEN, “Death, Love, and Cinematic Nostalgia: The Precarious Aesthetic of Lana Del Ray” (linking the aesthetics of her videos to her music, in particular to the ways in which she uses her voice)

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*N6: Locating Radio: The Symbolic, Cultural, and Political Dimensions of ‘Place’ in North American Radio Broadcasting

Brian Fauteux, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN, MADISON, “Localities and Independent Music in Satellite Radio Programming”

Catherine Martin, BOSTON UNIVERSITY, “‘I’ve Got My Eyes Open and I Can’t be Crooked’: Female Virtue and National Identity in “Terry and the Pirates””

Eleanor Patterson, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN, MADISON, “This American Franchise: Negotiating the Production of Local Public Radio for a Global Audience”

Jennifer Wang, INDEPENDENT SCHOLAR, “Some ‘Homemakers’ are More Than Housekeepers: Negotiating Modern Living, Gendered Spheres, and the Rural Lifestyle in Wisconsin Radio”

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N11: The Little Flashlight of the Usher: Objects in Exhibition Between Spectator and Screen

Stephen Groening, GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY, “‘If You Don’t Want to Look at It, No One Can Force You’: Spectatorship, Agency, and Headphones”

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**N16: Teaching Post-Production Sound From a Sound Studies Perspective

Mark Berger, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY

Jay Beck, CARLETON COLLEGE

George Larkin, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY

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Session O 1:00-2:45 p.m.

O4: Expanding the Meanings of Film: Cinema and the Nation in East Germany

Sabine Hake, UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS, AUSTIN, “The Popularity of High Culture: On the DEFA Opera Film”

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O8: Sinophone Cinemas

Alison Groppe, UNIVERSITY OF OREGON, “Multilingualism in Singaporean Film Dialogue: Authenticity or Argument?”

O14: Breath and the Body of the Voice in Cinema

Ian Garwood, UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW, “Lost in Non-Translation: Analysing Film Voices from a Position of Linguistic Incompetence”

Liz Greene, QUEEN’S UNIVERSITY BELFAST, “The Gasping Breath: Controlling the Female Voice in Hollywood Cinema”

Nessa Johnston, GLASGOW SCHOOL OF ART, “The Embodied Aural Encounters of Drama-Documentary”

Philippa Lovatt, UNIVERSITY OF STIRLING, “Breathing Bodies: Sound and Subjectivity in the War Film”

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Session P 3:00-4:45 p.m.

P7: “Women Contained”: Figuring Feminism in the Films of Todd Haynes

Respondent: Maria San Filippo, INDIANA UNIVERSITY, BLOOMINGTON

Matthew Von Vogt, INDIANA UNIVERSITY, BLOOMINGTON, “Structural Anorexia in “Superstar””

Jess Issacharoff, UNIVERSITY OF IOWA, ““Poison’s” Oath in Another Language: Todd Haynes’ Feminist Promise”

Michael Hetra, UNIVERSITY OF IOWA, “Music and the Vicissitudes of Desire in Todd Haynes’s “Mildred Pierce””

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P18: Beyond Bond: Alternative Perspectives on the James Bond Franchise

Meenasarani Murugan, NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY,  “‘Unlike Men, the Diamonds Linger’: Bassey and Bond beyond the Theme Song”

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*P22: Musics and Medias

Shawn VanCour, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY, “In Search of Spectacular Sound: Aesthetic Innovation in Classical Music Programming on Early U.S. Television”

Lindsay Affleck, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, LOS ANGELES, “The Young Man with a Horn: Harry James and the Intersection of the Big Band Era and Classical Hollywood”

Christopher Cwynar, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN, MADISON, “Unbuttoning National Public Radio: Assessing the Place of Popular Music in NPR’s Current Affairs Programming”

Norma Coates, UNIVERSITY OF WESTERN ONTARIO, “5% of It is Good:” Leonard Bernstein, CBS Reports, and the Cultural Accreditation of Rock Music”

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Session Q 5:00-6:45 p.m.

Q4: Staging Spain: Performance and Acting in Spanish Cinema

Tom Whittaker, UNIVERSITY OF LIVERPOOL, ““Sounding Authentic: Direct Sound and Spanish Vocal Performance in the 1970s””

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Q5: Indian Cinema in the 1930s: Scripts, Parsi Theater, and Melodrama in the Early Sound Film

Anupama Kapse, CUNY, QUEENS COLLEGE, “At Home in One’s Voice: Melodrama and Aural Performance in the Early Sound Film”

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Q8: New Media History

Andrew Bottomley, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN, MADISON, “What is Internet Radio? A Historical Genealogy of the Discourses of Radio in the Digital Era”

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Q15: Roadshows to Revisionism: Mapping Shifts in Distribution and Exhibition from the 1950s to the Present

Dennis Bingham, INDIANA UNIVERSITY – PURDUE UNIVERSITY INDIANAPOLIS, “‘Hey, Big Spender’: How Bob Fosse Ran Afoul of Roadshows and Discovered the Revisionist Musical”

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Q18: Sound, Vision, and Experience in Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel’s “Leviathan (2012)”

Respondent: Catherine Russell, CONCORDIA UNIVERSITY

Christopher Pavsek, SIMON FRASER UNIVERSITY, “Where’s the Sense in Sensory Ethnography?”

Ohad Landesman, TEL AVIV UNIVERSITY, “Faraway, So Close: “Leviathan” and the Digital Future of Observational Ethnography”

Eirik Frisvold Hanssen, NORWEGIAN UNIVERSITY OF SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY, “‘His Eyes Are Like the Rays of Dawn’: Color Vision and Embodiment in “Leviathan””

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Q22: Cinematic Spaces in the Urban Global South

Paulina Suarez-Hesketh, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY, “Dancing Pictures, Mobile Publics (Mexico City, 1930s -1950s)”

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"KEXP Concerts at the Mural" by Flickr user Chelsea Nesvig, CC BY 2.0

“KEXP Concerts at the Mural” by Flickr user Chelsea Nesvig, CC BY 2.0

SUNDAY, MARCH 23

Session R 9:00-10:45 a.m.

R2: War/Film

Todd Decker, WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY ST. LOUIS, “Helicopter Music”

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R7: Labor Practice and Labors Lost

Josh Heuman, TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY, “All of This Sometimes Tends to Look Like a Closed-Shop Operation: Organizing and Professionalizing Labor Markets and Relations in Early Broadcast Writing”

Michael Slowik, SAN DIEGO STATE UNIVERSITY, “Losing the Human Element: The Shift from Live to Recorded Music in Hollywood’s Early Sound Era”

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**R10: Sound Effects and Sound Affects

Karly-Lynne Scott, NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY, “‘The Voice of Shouts and Moans’: Haptic Aurality, Resonance, and Affect in Pornography”

Ian Kennedy, WAYNE STATE UNIVERSITY, “Damion Romero’s I Know! I Know! and the Sonic Translation of Nonhuman Affect”

Dong Liang, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO, “Is There a Sound Effect in this Score?: SFX in Transition”

Kelly Kirshtner, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN, MILWAUKEE, “Bodies of Proof: Sound and the Aesthetics of Discovery in Televisual Space”

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R20: Beyond Sight and Sound: Film and the Multisensory Experience

Respondent: Carl Plantinga, CALVIN COLLEGE

Joseph Kickasola, BAYLOR UNIVERSITY, “The Senses Know: Wong Kar‐Wai’s Multisensory Aesthetic”

William Brown, ROEHAMPTON UNIVERSITY, “A Touch of Nostalgia, or Time and Cinematic Synaesthesia”

Luis Antunes, UNIVERSITY OF KENT & NORWEGIAN UNIVERSITY OF SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY, “Multimodal Segmentation in Terrence Malick’s “The Thin Red Line”: Insight into the Time Window of Multisensory Integration”

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R24: About Time

Jeff Heinzl, UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH, “MTV Meets Slow Cinema: Feedback Loops and the Long Take in G.O.O.D. Music’s Mercy (2012)”

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Session S 11:00-12:45 p.m.

S3: Nontheatrical Film Communities

Pamela Krayenbuhl, NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY, “Raising the Barre in Screendance Scholarship: An Archival Analysis of the Dance Company Film”

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S8: New Hollywood and the Archive

Jessica Fowler, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, LOS ANGELES, “We’re the Young Generation and We’ve Got Something to Say: The Monkees and the Birth of New Hollywood”

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S9: A Global Pre-History of Reality TV

Aniko Imre, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, “Socialist Idols: Reality Music Competition Programs in the Soviet Bloc”

.

**S10: Audible Cinema: Explorations in Sound

Kartik Nair, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY, “‘The Body in the Voice’: Labor, Sound, and the Cinematic Scream”

Chunfeng Lin, UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS, URBANA-CHAMPAGNE, “The Sound Identity of the Early Chinese Sound Films: Symbolism as Skin, Realism as Body, and Politics as Soul”

James Osborne, UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA, “Weaving a Sonic Dream: Voice, Sound, Music, and Meaning in Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Magnolia””

Neil Lerner, DAVIDSON COLLEGE, “Investigating the Origins of Video Game Music Style, 1977-1983: The Early Cinema Hypothesis”

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S11: Historicising Stars

Kyle Barnett, BELLARMINE UNIVERSITY, “Stars on the Stereo: Variations on Phonographic Celebrity”

Amanda McQueen, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN, MADISON, “”All They’re Good for Is to Make Money”: The Industrial Significance of Elvis Presley Musicals in 1960s Hollywood”

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S14: Agency in Media Pedagogy: Critical Approaches to Empowerment

This is a workshop in which Elisabeth Soep of Youth Radio will be participating

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S15: Playing with the Interface

Lauren Cramer, GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY, “Race at the Interface: Rendering Blackness on WorldStarHipHop.com”

Kiri Miller, BROWN UNIVERSITY, “Gaming Gender in “Dance Central””

.

S16: Questions of Realism

Antonio Iannotta, UNIVERSITY OF SALERNO, “A Sound Laboratory for the Modern: Sound in Italian Cinema from Neorealism to the 60s”

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Session T 1:00-2:45 p.m.

T5: Translation-Adaptation-Nation

Gerald Sim, FLORIDA ATLANTIC UNIVERSITY, “Cacophonies of Affection: Postcolonial Soundscapes”

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T7: Histories of Technologies

Dimitrios Pavlounis, UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN, “Audio Surveillance Goes to the Movies : William J. Burns, the Detective Dictograph, and the Idea of Sound Recording, 1910-1920″

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T17: Revisoning Black Time and Space through the Afrofuturist Moving Image

Kevin Ball, WAYNE STATE UNIVERSITY, “The Incendiary Intergalactic: Sun Ra in Space Is the Place”

"Bumbershoot ad, 1974" by Flickr user Seattle Municipal Archives, CC BY 2.0

“Bumbershoot ad, 1974″ by Flickr user Seattle Municipal Archives, CC BY 2.0

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Tomahawk Chopped and Screwed: The Indeterminacy of Listening

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The Wobble Frequency2I’m happy to introduce the final post in Guest Editor Justin Burton‘s three part series for SO!, “The Wobble Continuum.” I’ll leave Justin to recap the series and reflect on it a little in his article below, but first I want to express our appreciation to him for his thoughtful curation of this exciting series, the first in the new Thursday stream at Sounding Out!. Thanks for getting the ball rolling!

Next month be sure to watch this space for a preview of sound at the upcoming Society for Cinema & Media Studies meeting in Seattle, and a new four part series on radio in Latin America by Guest Editor Tom McEnaney.

– Neil Verma, Special Editor for ASA/SCMS

I’m standing at a bus stop outside the Convention Center in downtown Indianapolis, whistling. The tune, “Braves,” is robust, a deep, oscillating comeuppance of the “Tomahawk Chop” melody familiar from my youth (the Braves were always on TBS). There’s a wobbly synthesizer down in the bass, a hi hat cymbal line pecking away at the Tomahawk Chop. This whistled remix of mine really sticks it to the original tune and the sports teams who capitalize on racist appropriations of indigenous cultures. All in all, it’s a sublime bit of musicality I’m bestowing upon the cold Indianapolis streets.

Until I become aware of the other person waiting for the bus. As I glance over at him, I can now hear my tune for what it is. The synthesizer and hi hat are all in my head, the bass nowhere to be heard. This isn’t the mix I intended, A Tribe Called Red’s attempt at defanging the Tomahawk Chop, at re-appropriating stereotypical sounds and spitting them back out on their own terms. Nope, this is just a guy on the street whistling those very stereotypes: it’s the Tomahawk Chop. I suddenly don’t feel like whistling anymore.

*****

As we conclude our Wobble Continuum guest series here at Sounding Out!, I want to think about the connective tissues binding together the previous posts from Mike D’Errico and Christina Giacona, joining A Tribe Called Red and the colonialist culture into which they release their music, and linking me to the guy at the bus stop who is not privy to the virtuosic sonic accompaniment in my head. In each case, I’ll pay attention to sound as material conjoining producers and consumers, and I’ll play with Karen Barad’s notion of performativity to hear the way these elements interact [Jason Stanyek and Ben Piekut also explore exciting possibilities from Barad in “Deadness” (TDR 54:1, 2010)].

"Sound Waves: Loud Volume" by Flickr user Tess Watson, CC BY 2.0

“Sound Waves: Loud Volume” by Flickr user Tess Watson, CC BY 2.0

Drawing from physicist Niels Bohr, Barad begins with the fact that matter is fundamentally indeterminate. This is formally laid out in the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, which notes that the more precisely we can determine (for instance) the position of a particle, the less we can say with certainty about its momentum (and vice versa). Barad points out that “‘position’ only has meaning when a rigid apparatus with fixed parts is used (eg, a ruler is nailed to a fixed table in the laboratory, thereby establishing a fixed frame of reference for establishing ‘position’)” (2003, 814).

This kind of indeterminacy is characteristic of sound, which vibrates along a cultural continuum, and which, in sliding back and forth along that continuum, allows us to tune into some information even as other information distorts or disappears. This can feel very limiting, but it can also be exhilarating, as what we are measuring are a variety of possibilities prepared to unfold before us as matter and sound become increasingly unpredictable and slippery. We can observe this continuum in the tissue connecting the previous posts in this series. In the first, Mike D’Errico tunes into the problematic hypermasculinity of brostep, pinpointing the ways music software interfaces can rehash tropes of control and dominance (Robin James has responded with productive expansions of these ideas), dropping some areas of music production right back into systems of patriarchy. In the second post, Giacona, in highlighting the anti-racist and anti-colonial work of A Tribe Called Red, speaks of the “impotence” visited upon the Tomahawk Chop by ATCR’s sonic interventions. Here, hypermasculinity is employed as a means of colonial reprimand for a hypermasculine, patriarchal culture. In sliding from one post to the other, we’ve tuned into different frequencies along a continuum, hearing the possibilities (both terrorizing and ameliorative) of patriarchal production methods unfolding before us.

"Skrillex at Forum, Copenhagen" by Flickr user Jacob Wang, CC-BY-SA-2.0

“Skrillex at Forum, Copenhagen” by Flickr user Jacob Wang, CC-BY-SA-2.0

Barad locates the performative upshot of this kind of indeterminacy in the fact that the scientist, the particle, and the ruler nailed to the table in the lab are all three bound together as part of a single phenomenon—they become one entity. To observe something is to become entangled with it, so that all of the unfolding possibilities of that particle become entwined with the unfolding possibilities of the scientist and the ruler, too. The entire phenomenon becomes indeterminate as the boundaries separating each entity bleed together, and these entities only detangle by performing—by acting out—boundaries among themselves.

Returning to Giacona’s discussion of “Braves,” it’s possible to mix and remix our components to perform them—to act them out—in more than one way. Giacona arranges it so that ATCR is the scientist, observing a particle that is a colonizing culture drunk on its own stereotypes. Here, “Braves” is the ruler that allows listeners to measure something about that culture. Is that something location? Direction? Even if we can hear clearly what Giacona leads us to—an uncovering of stereotypes so pernicious as to pervade, unchallenged, everyday activities—there’s an optimism available in indeterminacy. As we slide along the continuum to the present position of this colonialist culture, the certainty with which we can say anything about its trajectory lessens, opening the very possibility that motivates ATCR, namely the hope of something better.

"ATCR 1" by Flickr user MadameChoCho, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

“ATCR 1″ by Flickr user MadameChoCho, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

But listening and sounding are tricky things. As I think about my whistling of “Braves” in Indianapolis, it occurs to me that Giacona’s account is easily subverted. It could be that ATCR is the particle, members of a group of many different nations reduced to a single voice in a colonial present populated by scientists (continuing the analogy) who believe in Manifest Destiny and Johnny Depp. Now the ruler is not “Braves” but the Tomahawk Chop melody ATCR attempts to critique, and the group is measured by the same lousy standard colonizers always use. In this scenario, people attend ATCR shows in redface and headdresses, and I stand on the street whistling a war chant. We came to the right place, but we heard—or in my case, re-sounded—the wrong thing.

"Knob Twiddler" by Flickr user Jes, CC BY-SA 2.0

“Knob Twiddler” by Flickr user Jes, CC BY-SA 2.0

Jennifer Stoever-Ackerman’s “listening ear” is instructive here. Cultures as steeped in indigenous stereotypes as the United States and Canada have conditioned their ears to hear ATCR through whiteness, through colonialism, making it difficult to perceive the subversive nature of “Braves.” ATCR plays a dangerous game in which they are vulnerable to being heard as a war chant rather than a critique; their material must be handled with care. There’s a simple enough lesson for me and my whistling: some sounds should stay in my head. But Barad offers something more fundamental to what we do as listeners. By recognizing that 1). there are connective tissues deeply entangling the materiality of our selves, musicians, and music and 2). listening is a continuum revealing only some knowledge at any given moment, we can begin to imagine and perform the many possibilities that open up to us in the indeterminacy of listening.

If everything sounds certain to us when we listen, we’re doing it wrong. Instead, for music to function productively, we as listeners must find our places in a wobbly continuum whose tissues connect us to the varied appendages of music and culture. Once so entangled, we’ll ride those synth waves down to the low end as hi hats all the while tap out the infinite possibilities opening in front of us. 

Featured image: “a tribe called red_hall4_mozpics (2)_GF” by Flickr user Trans Musicales, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Justin Burton is a musicologist specializing in US popular music and culture. He is especially interested in hip hop and the ways it is sounded across regions, locating itself in specific places even as it expresses transnational and diasporic ideas.He is Assistant Professor of Music at Rider University, where he teaches in the school’s Popular Music and Culture program. He helped design the degree, which launched in the fall of 2012, and he is proud to be able to work in such a unique program.  His book-length project - Posthuman Pop - blends his interests in hip hop and technology by engaging contemporary popular music through the lens of posthuman theory.  Recent and forthcoming publications include an exploration of the Mozart myth as it is presented in Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus and then parodied in an episode of The Simpsons (Journal of Popular Culture 46:3, 2013), an examination of the earliest iPod silhouette commercials and the notions of freedom they are meant to convey (Oxford Handbook of Mobile Music Studies), and a long comparative review of Kanye and Jay Z’s Watch the Throne and the Roots’ Undun (Journal for the Society of American Music). He is also co-editing with Ali Colleen Neff a special issue of the Journal of Popular Music Studies titled “Sounding Global Southernness.”  He currently serves on the executive committee of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music-US Branch and is working on an oral history project of the organization. From June 2011 through May 2013, he served as Editor of the IASPM-US website, expanding the site’s offerings with the cutting edge work of popular music scholars from around the world.  You can contact him at justindburton [at] gmail [dot] com.

tape reelREWIND!…If you liked this post, you may also dig:

Musical Encounters and Acts of Audiencing: Listening Cultures in the American Antebellum-Daniel Cavicchi

Musical Objects, Variability and Live Electronic Performance-Primus Luta

Further Experiments in Agent-based Musical Composition”-Andreas Duus Pape

“HOW YOU SOUND??”: The Poet’s Voice, Aura, and the Challenge of Listening to Poetry

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This post is dedicated to the memory of Amiri Baraka, who passed away on January 9, 2014 in Newark, New Jersey.

I began writing this post while my wife, Sarah, was at a conference on writing curriculum for high school literature. Over the phone one night she asked how to help students better understand the language of Shakespeare, and at a loss for suggestions (not only because I don’t study early modern drama), I recalled my own adolescent struggles with Macbeth, Hamlet, and Julius Caesar. I recalled well-intentioned teachers who gave me recordings, telling me that they would help me get an “ear” for Shakespeare’s language—yet all I remember, maybe all I learned, while listening to the Caedmon recording of Macbeth on vinyl, was that, to my mid-1990s ear, Shakespeare (anachronistically) sounded like Star Wars (which appeared 15 years after the 1960 Caedmon album).

My high school confusion has not completely faded when it comes to the sound of recorded poetic language, even more so when the notion of the poet’s voice is thrown into the mix. As opposed to verse recited by actors (the Caedmon Macbeth featured Anthony Quayle), or the sound of the syllables when we read a poem silently to ourselves, I find it tough to parse the idea of the sound of the poem in terms of the poet’s voice because “voice” is a slippery category—a constructed one, contingent upon the given historical moment of inscription and reception. It is tough because this idea of the sound of the poem, located in the voice of the poet, gets complicated with sonic technologies where voice is subject to the shifting conditions of fidelity.

"Record Player" by DeviantArt user SomeAreLove, CC-BY-NC-ND-3.0

“Record Player” by DeviantArt user SomeAreLove, CC-BY-NC-ND-3.0

The act of listening to recorded poetry thus poses particular analytic challenges, which become more complex when the politics of identity are brought to bear on these questions of voice and poetry. As a site for identity production, the recorded poetry performance projects a mediated voice that is a potential self. The “sound” of this poetic subjectivity is different from recording to recording, even of the same poem. In an effort to work through these complexities, this post takes up three different recordings of Amiri Baraka’s poem “Black Dada Nihilismus,” which offer variations in delivery and performance that each depend upon the social, political, and aesthetic dimensions of the soundscape that each recording is embedded within.

“Black Dada Nihilismus” is an excellent opportunity to consider the overlapping challenges of voice, performance and the politics of identity in recorded poetry. Published in the early 1960s, this poem was written before Baraka’s shift in politics, which was precipitated by the assassination of Malcolm X in 1965, yet the poem anticipates the intersection of aesthetics and politics during the Black Arts Movement in the late 1960s into the 70s. This shift can be tracked in the sonic details of the first two recordings, made in 1964 and 1965. In the third version, a 1993 remix by DJ Spooky, we can hear how this shift reverberates beyond its historical moment.

In a statement of poetics included in Donald Allen’s classic 1959 anthology The New American Poetry, Baraka (then Leroi Jones) asked: “HOW YOU SOUND??” How a poet’s poem sounded mattered most for him: “you have to start and finish there … your own voice … how you sound” (425). Primarily referencing the poem on the page, he wasn’t whistling in the dark: often thought of as a vocal performance of language, poetry has a long history with sound. One thread of this history is the Homeric tradition of an “oral poetics,” a tradition where, as Albert Lord notes in The Singer of Tales, socialized performances of poetry were simultaneously modes of composition. The feel of language in the body remained inseparable from the poetry that relayed the heroic tales of the ancient world. In The Sounds of Poetry, Robert Pinsky offers a similar account of sound and voice, suggesting that the “sound” of language, the sensuous play of speech, is the material for poetic composition. Or as Charles Bernstein has it in Close Listening, “poetry needs to be sounded” because it is a way to understand it better (7).

"Le Roi Jones" by Flickr user UIC Digital Collections, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

“Le Roi Jones” by Flickr user UIC Digital Collections, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Poetry is often said to be difficult—but how would a poet’s “sounding” of a poem help a listener better understand it, as Bernstein suggests? How is the recorded voice resonating in air different from inert marks on a page? What is the status of that difference? Why or how would the sound recording signify differently than the poem on the silent page? In short, is listening easier than reading? My answer to the final question is a resounding “no.” For me, the challenge is how to consider the recorded poetry performance in both formal and aural terms so as to remain tuned in to the aesthetic and the poetic as well as the social and historical dimensions of a particular poet’s work. This is not easily done.

“Black Dada Nihilismus” was first published in The Dead Lecturer (1964) and later included in Transbluesency (1995). Written in two parts, it asserts a black aesthetic by critiquing the dominance of (white) light in Western art and suggesting a connection between this light, ethnic violence, and religious ideology. This is how the poem opens:

                                        .Against what light
is false what breath
sucked, for deadness.

                                        Murder, the cleansed
purpose, frail, against
God, if they bring him

                                        Bleeding, I would not
forgive, or even call him
black dada nihilismus.

The protestant love, wide windows,
color blocked to Modrian, and the
ugly silent deaths of jews […]

(Transbluesency 97)

Through critique the poem develops the connections between aesthetics and racial dominance and violence. These connections take on different inflections in each recorded version of the poem, and with each inflection another aspect of them is amplified.

The first version is a bootleg of a reading at the Asilomar Negro Writers Conference that was held in Pacific Grove, California, in early August, 1964.


Asilomar Conference Grounds, site of 1964 Negro Writers Conference

Asilomar Conference Grounds, site of 1964 Negro Writers Conference

In addition to the preamble, where Baraka explains some of the poem’s key terms such as Dada, which he describes as a movement in France (rather than Germany or Switzerland), another sonic detail that marks this as “live” is at the 2:59 minute mark when we hear the flap of a turning page, reminding us that Baraka is treating the poem as a script in these recordings. In this version, the opening lines are sharply delivered, the voice fully pausing at the linebreaks and acutely pronouncing the hard vowels (e.g. “sucked”). Against the continuous background hush of the original reel-to-reel recording, Baraka punches his words into the air, as if trying to find a rhythm between these harder vowels and the softer ones that often denote the poem’s object of critique (e.g. “light”).

The next version is off the A side of New York Art Quartet and Imamu Amiri Baraka (ESP Disk 1965), where the poem’s rhythm is immediately established by the musical accompaniment.

Between the first recording and this one a shift began in Baraka’s development as a poet. The assassination of Malcolm X pushed him to think even more about race, politics, and art. In this version the opening lines, delivered with punch and pause in the bootleg, take on a different register when juxtaposed with the smooth coolness of the quartet. Overall, though, the poem is delivered more militantly here. In the first version the opening lines are delivered forcefully, but ultimately this forcefulness subsides over the course of the reading. The opposite is the case in this studio version that slowly builds to the apex of the poem, the point of most force, this stanza:

Black scream
and chant, scream,
and dull, un
earthly
hollering.

(Transbluesency 99)

In the bootleg, the turn of the page—between “earthly” and “hollering”—interrupts this stanza, and Baraka hesitates and slowly finds his way toward the poem’s close, while in the studio version, the musical accompaniment reaches a fevered pitch here, making it feel as if it is at the edge of the scream that it names. This prepares us for the closing litany of names of black figures of “black dada nihilismus,” which goes like this:

For tambo, willie best, dubois, patrice, mantan, the
bronze buckaroos.

For Jack Johnson, asbestos, tonto, buckwheat,
billie holiday.

(Ibid.)

In the final version, which is DJ Spooky’s remix of the second one, included on the CD Offbeat: A Red Hot Soundtrip (TVT Records 1996), this litany feels more like the outro (that is meant as) against Spooky’s beats and moody reverb.

An aspect of the poem amplified in the remix is the stanzas leading up to the apex stanza of the “black scream.” In a series of tercets that open the second section, the speaker addresses the experience of racial oppression and a growing need to strike back:

The razor. Our flail against them, why
you carry knives? Or brutaled lumps of

heart? Why you stay, where they can
reach? Why you sit, or stand, or walk
in this place, a window on a dark

warehouse […]

(Transbluesency 98)

The “why” is significantly amplified in the remix, forcing us to hear the ironic indictment of the oppressive “light,” not as audible in the other two tracks, explicit in Baraka’s tercets.

“IMG_0433″ by Flickr user Beyond Baroque, CC-BY-NC-SA-2.0

“IMG_0433″ by Flickr user Beyond Baroque, CC-BY-NC-SA-2.0

The original recordings of these versions of “Black Dada Nihilismus” are each in a different format: vinyl LP, tape-to-tape reel, and CD. I have been working with digitized versions, so the way I am hearing these recordings—through a smooth digitized MP3 file or Youtube clip—is not the same as the crackle of a needle running an LP’s groove or a nearly noiseless laser tracing a CD. These variations in format mean that the different ways these versions individual signify—their respective “sounds”—are flattened out by compression. Despite this loss of material context, Baraka still sounds different in each of these tracks. Each version of Baraka’s poem offers us another iteration of his “voice,” and the poem, but listening to each of them does not necessarily provide a better understanding of it. We are, though, given different sonic experiences that depend upon the purpose of Baraka’s performance, the listener imagined during the reading, and the voice enunciated through the mediated environment.

Some of the voice details do remain consistent across these recordings. For example, the delivery of one of the poem’s most memorable phrase—“Hermes, the/the blacker art”—that occurs toward the close of the poem’s first section is steadily delivered in a lower register, in the hush of an aside, and might be taken as the motif of each of these variations.

"Stage Microphone TTV" by Flickr user Keith Bloomfield, CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0

“Stage Microphone TTV” by Flickr user Keith Bloomfield, CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0

A vast archive of recorded poetry exists. Mid-century recording projects by Caedmon and Folkways made “voices” of well-known poets, such as Robert Frost and Dylan Thomas, available for mainstream consumption. More recent anthologies and series like Poetry Speaks and The Voice of the Poet suggest that the “voice of the poet” still holds appeal. The proliferation of online sound archives such as Penn Sound and From the Fishouse further attest to an ongoing investment in recording, storing, and making available sound files of poets reading their work. And this fascination with the “sound” of poetry is not limited to mainstream cultural spheres or web-based archives. Several scholarly collections on this convergence of sound, voice, and poetry such as Bernstein’s already-mentioned Close Listening, Adelaide Morris’s Sound States, and Marjorie Perloff’s and Craig Dworkin’s The Sound of Poetry/The Poetry of Sound have appeared over the last decade.

The idea of the sound of the poem, located in the mediated voice of the poet, therefore remains relevant today. In many of these instances, however, the poet’s voice falsely takes on an authoritative “aura,” as Walter Benjamin used that word in his (recently re-translated) “The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility.” Benjamin uses “aura” to talk about authenticity in art and how that is lost when images (or sounds) can be reproduced and widely distributed, and this is not a bad thing: “technological reproducibility emancipates the work of art from its parasitic subservience to ritual. To an ever-increasing degree, the work produced becomes the reproduction of work designed to be reproduced” (24). When Benjamin’s concept is applied to recorded poetry, two key points emerge. First, the “sound” of a poet’s voice is the product of technological conditions. Second, just as a book editor makes aesthetic judgments based on a perceived audience, a listener is imagined when a poetry performance is recorded. Too bad I didn’t know this in high school.

“A Poem for Speculative Hipsters by Amiri Baraka” by Flickr user Shawn Calhoun, CC-BY-NC-2.0

“A Poem for Speculative Hipsters by Amiri Baraka” by Flickr user Shawn Calhoun, CC-BY-NC-2.0

Featured image: “Paula Varjack” by Flickr user Very Quiet, CC-BY-SA-2.0

John Hyland recently completed his dissertation on sound, poetics, and the black diaspora, titled “Atlantic Reverberations: The Sonic Performances of Black Diasporic Poetries,” at the University at Buffalo, SUNY. His poems, essays, and reviews have appeared (or are forthcoming) in a range of journals, such as The Journal of Postcolonial Writing, College Literature, and Borderlands. Recently, he has enjoyed performing with the Buffalo Poets Theater and co-edited a special issue of the poetry journal kadar koli on the relationship between violence and the expressive arts.  

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Hearing the Tenor of the Vendler/Dove Conversation: Race, Listening, and the “Noise” of Texts-Christina Sharpe

Pretty, Fast, and Loud: The Audible Ali–Tara Betts

The Sounds of Anti-Anti-Essentialism: Listening to Black Consciousness in the Classroom-Carter Mathes

Sound at MLA 2014

"Mississippi North" by Flickr  user John W. Iwanski, CC-BY-NC-2.0

Happy new year, dear Sounding Out! readers! Early January brings about New Year’s resolutions, specials on bins for holiday ornaments, Three Kings’ Day, and our yearly MLA sound studies panel round-up. This year, MLA 2014 attendees will get another blast of cold temperatures because this year’s convention is in Chicago—not much of a difference weather-wise from Boston but just as exciting! If you’re undecided about what panels to check out or if you’re not sure about where to start with the MLA Program, you’re in the right place: I combed the MLA Program page by page and condensed it just for our sound studies aficionados. If you’re sitting this MLA out or if you’re just curious about what the following panels are all about, it’s easy to follow the conference from home if you have access to Twitter. MLA is one of the most active academic conferences on social media: there’s the lively twitter hashtag #MLA14, the individual hashtags for each session (#s–followed by the session number), and an attentive twitter account (@MLAConvention), so even if you’re not in Chi-town you can still see what’s going on at your favorite panels this week.

Whereas last year some of the sound-oriented panels had a particular digital angle, this year there are several panels look at the intersection of sound and literary studies. The titles may not suggest sound, but the presentations do. For example, panel #s384 Literary Crossroads: African American Literature and Christianity includes presentations on representations of gospel and spirituality in different African American books. Another panel of interest is #s414, Literature and Media in the Nineteenth-Century United States arranged by the Division on Nineteenth-Century American Literature. (This panel resonates nicely with Sounding Out!’s Sound in the Nineteenth Century forum which just ended last Monday.) The focus on literature may come from the fact that the MLA brings many literary scholars together, but it is encouraging that the study of sound is also overlapping with the study of literature.

"Street Musicians, Chicago" by Flickr user Diana Schnuth, CC-BY-NC-2.0

“Street Musicians, Chicago” by Flickr user Diana Schnuth, CC-BY-NC-2.0

Despite that the convention brings literature scholars from across the United States together, some of the more intriguing sound-oriented panels are not focused on literature at all. In fact, several panels address sound from the angle of music. Panel #s131, The Musics of Chicago brings together High Fidelity and Lupe Fiasco, and panel #s162 on the HBO series Girls includes Chloe H. Johnson’s paper “Dancing on My Own: Popular Music and Issues of Identity in Girls. Although the fields of literary studies and cultural studies are sometimes in tension with each other, some MLA presenters are approaching popular culture particularly from an aural angle.

Music is not the only presence of sound in the MLA Program. Several panels bring up sound in conjunction with pedagogy. Some of our readers may remember the forum Sounding Out! hosted last year on sound and pedagogy—a forum of which I was a part. I’m glad to see other language, composition, and literature teachers are thinking about sound too. Panel #s114, Dialects of English Worldwide: Issues in English Language Studies includes several papers that think about spoken English nowadays. For those who are interested in how the sound of students’ speech are intersected by structural racism and public policy will find lots to think about with this panel. If you’re looking for concrete suggestions on using sound as a pedagogical approach, panel #s213 has some answers. Twenty-First-Century Pedagogies, arranged by the Discussion Group on the Two-Year College includes a presentation on sound essays by Kathryn O’Donoghue from the Graduate Center at City Univ. of New York.

Where will Team SO! be at MLA 2014? Editor-in-Chief Jennifer Stoever-Ackerman can be found at the DH Commons pre-conference workshop on Thursday, January 9, 2014; she will be presenting Friday, January 10 at 8:30 am on her research on Lead belly and Richard Wright as part of panel #s221, Singing Out in the American Literary Experience. Regular writer Regina Bradley will be presenting Friday at 5:15 pm on panel #s403 Words, Works, and New Archives: Studying African American Literature in the Twenty-First Century. Guest blogger Scott Poulson-Bryant will be at panel #s447, The Seventies in Black and White: A Soundtrack on Saturday at 8:30 am. I will be presenting on Friday morning at panel #s218, a roundtable on the graduate seminar paper and will be leading panel #s788, Back Up Your Work: Conceptualizing Writing Support for Graduate Students on Sunday at 1:45 pm. You can catch us on Twitter: @lianamsilvaford and @soundingoutblog where we’ll be live-tweeting panels and keeping followers up to date on convention chatter. Who knows, maybe there’ll be an impromptu SO! tweet-up? Stay tuned to our social media feeds!

Before I go, a shameless plug: As of this month I am the new editor of the newsletter Women in Higher Education, so if you want to meet up and talk about the newsletter please let me know!

Did I miss something? Maybe I somehow missed you or your panel in this round up? Please let me know either via email, via tweet, or post on the Sounding Out! Facebook page.


Liana Silva-Ford is co-founder and Managing Editor of Sounding Out!.

Featured image: “Mississippi North” by Flickr user John W. Iwanski, CC-BY-NC-2.0

Jump to THURSDAY, JANUARY 9, 2014
Jump to FRIDAY, JANUARY 10, 2014
Jump to SATURDAY, JANUARY 11, 2014
Jump to SUNDAY, JANUARY 12, 2014

"Television Sam (I'm Your Main Man)" by Flickr user the justified sinner, CC-BY-NC-SA-2.0

“Television Sam (I’m Your Main Man)” by Flickr user the justified sinner, CC-BY-NC-SA-2.0

THURSDAY, JANUARY 9, 2014

8:30 am-11:30 am 
3. Get Started in the Digital Humanities with Help from DHCommons

Chicago A–B, Chicago Marriott 

PRESIDING: Ryan Cordell, Northeastern Univ.; Josh Honn, Northwestern Univ.; Katherine A. Rowe, Bryn Mawr Coll.

The workshop welcomes language and literature scholars who wish to learn about, pursue, or join digital humanities (DH) projects but do not have the institutional infrastructure to support them. Representatives of DH projects and initiatives will share their expertise on project design, outline available resources and opportunities, and lead small-group training sessions on DH technologies and skills. Preregistration required.

12:00 pm-1:15 pm

31. Radical Curators, Vulnerable Genres: Lost Histories of Collecting, Editing, Bibliography

Michigan–Michigan State, Chicago Marriott

PRESIDING: Meredith L. McGill, Rutgers Univ., New Brunswick

SPEAKERS:

Jessica J. Beard, Univ. of California, Santa Cruz;

Alex Black, Cornell Univ.;

Jane Greenway Carr, New York Univ.;

Ellen Gruber Garvey, New Jersey City Univ.

Laura Helton, Univ. of Virginia

Courtney Thorsson, Univ. of Oregon

33. Sir Walter Scott and Music

Sheffield, Chicago Marriott

Program arranged by the Lyrica Society for Word-Music Relations

PRESIDING: Jeff Dailey, Five Towns Coll.

1. “Cutting Out the Castle Quicksand: Scott’s Bride, Donizetti’s Lucia, and the ‘Personally Furious’ Ayn Rand,” Shoshana Milgram Knapp, Virginia Polytechnic Inst. and State Univ.

2. “‘Drifting through the Intellectual Atmosphere’ from Scott’s Old Morality to Liszt’s Hexameron,” Catherine Ludlow, Western Illinois Univ.

3. “Walter Scott, British Identity, and International Grand Opera: Isidore de Lara’s Amy Robsart(1893),” Tommaso Sabbatini, Univ. of Chicago

For abstracts, visit lyricasociety.org.

1:45-3:00 pm

75. Voice and Silence

Mississippi, Sheraton Chicago

Program arranged by the Division on French Medieval Language and Literature

PRESIDING: Matilda Tomaryn Bruckner, Boston Coll.

1. “Gut Feelings,” Jason D. Jacobs, Roger Williams Univ.

2. “Tomboy Silence,” Wan-Chuan Kao, Washington and Lee Univ.

3. “Giving Voice to the Word of God; or, Bernard of Clairvaux Sings the Song of Songs,” Kris Trujillo, Univ. of California, Berkeley

3:30-4:45

114. Dialects of English Worldwide: Issues in English Language Studies

Illinois, Chicago Marriott

Program arranged by the Discussion Group on Present-Day English Language 

PRESIDING: Elizabeth Bell Canon, Emory Univ.

1. “‘Speak the Language of Your Flag’: American Policy Responses to Nonanglophone Immigrants,” Dennis E. Baron, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana

2. “The Sounds of Silence: Standard and Nonstandard Englishes in Contemporary Ethnic American Writing,” Melissa Dennihy, Queensborough Community Coll., City Univ. of New York

3. “Star Spanglish Banter: Harnessing Students’ Linguistic Expertise,” Jill Hallett, Northeastern Illinois Univ.

4. “Emerging Attitudes toward New Media within the Discourses of Poetics and Literature,” April Pierce, Univ. of Oxford

5:15-6:30

131. The Musics of Chicago

Chicago H, Chicago Marriott 

PRESIDING: Shawn Higgins, Univ. of Connecticut, Storrs

1. “Sweet Home Chicago? (Dis)Locating the American ‘Race Record’ in High Fidelity,” Jürgen E. Grandt, Univ. of North Georgia

2. “Experiment and Exodus in the Music of Chicago,” Toshiyuki Ohwada, Keio Univ.

3. “Fly Girls or Blackface? The Racial and Gender Politics of Lupe Fiasco,” Jorge Santos, Univ. of Connecticut, Storrs

141. Enduring Noise: Sound and Sexual Difference

Illinois, Chicago Marriott

PRESIDING: Rizvana Bradley, Emory Univ.

1. “Listening to Gertrude Stein’s Repeating: Sonorous Temporality in The Making of Americans,” Erin McNellis, Univ. of California, Irvine

2. “Queer Extensities: Pauline Oliveros and Disco,” Amalle Dublon, Duke Univ.

3. “Metal, Reproduction, and the Politics of Doom,” Aliza Shvarts, New York Univ.

RESPONDING: Rizvana Bradley

7:00-8:15 pm

162. Girls and the F Word: Twenty-First-Century Representations of Women’s Lives

Los Angeles–Miami, Chicago Marriott 

PRESIDING : Tahneer Oksman, Marymount Manhattan Coll.

1. “‘My Shoes Match My Dress . . . Kind Of!’: The Politics of Dressing and Nakedness in Girls,” Laura Scroggs, Univ. of Minnesota, Twin Cities

2. “She’s Just Not That into You: Girls, Dating, and Damage,” Jennifer Mitchell, Weber State Univ.

3. “Dancing on My Own: Popular Music and Issues of Identity in Girls,” Chloe H. Johnson, York Univ., Keele

RESPONDING: Nancy K. Miller, Graduate Center, City Univ. of New York

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"Untitled" by Flickr user d76, CC-BY-NC-2.0

“Untitled” by Flickr user d76, CC-BY-NC-2.0

FRIDAY, JANUARY 10, 2014

8:30 am-9:45 am

207. Diversifying the Victorian Verse Archives

Chicago A–B, Chicago Marriott 

PRESIDING : Meredith Martin, Princeton Univ.

1. “Recovering Tennyson’s ‘Melody in Poetry’: Salon Recitations and Musical Settings,” Phyllis Weliver, Saint Louis Univ.

2. “Morris Metrics: The Work of Meter in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” Yopie Prins, Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor

3. “Digital Archives and the Music of Victorian Poetry,” Joanna Swafford, Univ. of Virginia

For abstracts, visit https://sites.google.com/a/slu.edu/diversifying-the-victorian-verse-archives/

213. Twenty-First-Century Pedagogies

Michigan–Michigan State, Chicago Marriott

Program arranged by the Discussion Group on the Two-Year College 

PRESIDING: Stacey Lee Donohue, Central Oregon Community Coll.

1. “Not on Wikipedia: Making the Local Visible,” Laurel Harris, Queensborough Community Coll., City Univ. of New York

2. “Survival Spanish Online: Designing a Community College Course That Bridges Culture and Authentic Connections,” Cecilia McGinniss Kennedy, Clark State Community Coll., OH

3. “Sound Essays: A Cure for the Common Core,” Kathryn O’Donoghue, Graduate Center, City Univ. of New York

4. “Leveling Up! Gamifying the Literature Classroom,” Jessica Lewis-Turner, Temple Univ., Philadelphia

For abstracts, visit commons.mla.org/groups/the-two-year-college/announcements/ after 15 Dec.

217. Cuba on Stage

Arkansas, Sheraton Chicago

Program arranged by the Discussion Group on Cuban and Cuban Diaspora Cultural Production 

PRESIDING: Vicky Unruh, Univ. of Kansas

1. “José Triana, Virgilio Piñera, and the Racial Erotics of Cuban Tragedy,” Armando Garcia, Univ. of Pittsburgh

2. “Estorino’s Gray Ghosts,” David Lisenby, Univ. at Albany, State Univ. of New York

3. “Musical Trangressions on the Cuban Stage: Rap, Rock, and Reggaeton,” Elena Valdez, Swarthmore Coll.

4. “Locating the Malecón,” Bretton White, Colby Coll.

221. Singing Out in the American Literary Experience

Old Town, Chicago Marriott

Program arranged by the Discussion Group on Folklore and Literature 

PRESIDING: Mark Allan Jackson, Middle Tennessee State Univ.

1. “Re-sounding Folk Voice, Remaking the Ballad: Alan Lomax, Margaret Walker, and the New Criticism,” Derek Furr, Bard Coll.

2. “‘A Voice to Match All That’: Lead Belly, Richard Wright, and Lynching’s Sound Track,” Jennifer Stoever-Ackerman, Binghamton Univ., State Univ. of New York

3. “Stunting Gualinto: The Limits of Corrido Heroism in Americo Paredes’s George Washington Gomez,” Melanie Hernandez, Univ. of Washington, Seattle

For abstracts, write to majackso@mtsu.edu.

10:15-11:30

261. Applying Linguistics to the Learning of Middle Eastern Languages

Huron, Sheraton Chicago

Program arranged by the Discussion Group on General Linguistics 

PRESIDING: Terrence Potter, Georgetown Univ.

1. “How Strategic Can They Be? Differences between Student and Instructor Attitudes toward Language Learning Strategies,” Gregory Ebner, United States Military Acad.

2. “Needs-Analysis Informed Task Design in Arabic Foreign Language Programs in the United States: Insights from Learner Perceptions and Production,” Maimoonah Al Khalil, King Saud Univ., Riyadh

3. “Linguistic Advantages and Constraints in the Classroom: Judeo-Spanish as an L2,” Bryan Kirschen, Univ. of California, Los Angeles

For abstracts, write to tmp28@georgetown.edu.

263. John Clare: The Voices of Nature

Chicago C, Chicago Marriott

Program arranged by the John Clare Society of North America 

PRESIDING: Rochelle Johnson, Coll. of Idaho

1. “Speaking for the Trees: Margaret Cavendish, John Clare, and Voicing Nature,” Bridget Mary Keegan, Creighton Univ.

2. “Clare’s Air: Sound in Motion,” Paul Chirico, Univ. of Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Coll.

3. “John Clare: The Unusual and Challenging Natural Historian,” Eric H. Robinson, Univ. of Massachusetts, Boston

12:00 pm-1:15 pm

269A. Chicago Latina/o Writing: A Creative Conversation

Sheraton I, Sheraton Chicago

Program arranged by the Office of the Executive Director 

PRESIDING: Ariana Ruiz, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana

SPEAKERS: Rey Andújar, Centro de Estudios Avanzados de Puerto Rico y el Caribe

Brenda Cárdenas, Univ. of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

Paul Martínez Pompa, Triton Coll.

Achy Obejas, Chicago, IL

270. Women’s Education in Third World Countries

Parlor G, Sheraton Chicago

Program arranged by the Discussion Group on Interdisciplinary Approaches to Culture and Society 

PRESIDING : Shirin E. Edwin, Sam Houston State Univ.

1. “Narrative Approaches to Transmitting Regional Oral and Instrumental Literary Traditions in the Works of Aminata Sow Fall,” Julie Ann Huntington, Marymount Manhattan Coll.

2. “Gender, Class, and Education: Intersections in South Asian Literature,” Maryse Jayasuriya, Univ. of Texas, El Paso

3. “Women’s Schooling in Clarice Lispector’s Narrative: A Brazilian Education,” Alejandro E. Latinez, Sam Houston State Univ.

279. Dadaphone: Indeterminacy in Words and Music

Huron, Chicago Marriott

Program arranged by the Lyrica Society for Word-Music Relations and the Association for the Study of Dada and Surrealism 

PRESIDING : Jeff Dailey, Five Towns Coll.

1. “Black Dada,” Kathy Lou Schultz, Univ. of Memphis

2. “Aleatory Adaptation and Indeterminate Interpretation: Radiohead’s In Rainbows as Faustian Rock Opera,” Meg Tarquinio Roche, Northeastern Univ.

3. “Game Changer: Cage’s Word-Music Combination in ‘Renunion’ and ‘Solo 23,’” Sydney Boyd, Rice Univ.

4. “Graphic Notation in Contemporary Music and Its Debt to Dada,” Laura Prichard, Univ. of Massachusetts, Lowell

For abstracts, visit lyricasociety.org.

5:15 pm-6:30 pm

384. Literary Crossroads: African American Literature and Christianity

Addison, Chicago Marriott

Program arranged by the Conference on Christianity and Literature and the Division on Literature and Religion 

PRESIDING: Katherine Clay Bassard, Virginia Commonwealth Univ.

1. “God’s Trombones, the Social Gospel, and the Harlem Renaissance,” Jonathan Fedors, Univ. of Pennsylvania

2. “When the Gospel Sings the Blues in Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man,” Claudia Rosemary May, Univ. of California, Berkeley

3. “Faith Moves: Belief and the Body in Bill T. Jones’s Chapel/Chapter and Toni Morrison’sParadise,” Leslie Elizabeth Wingard, Coll. of Wooster

For abstracts, write to kcbassar@vcu.edu.

403. Words, Works, and New Archives: Studying African American Literature in the Twenty-First Century

Michigan–Michigan State, Chicago Marriott

Program arranged by the College Language Association 

PRESIDING : Warren Carson, Univ. of South Carolina, Spartanburg

1. “The Field and Function of African American Literary Scholarship: A Memorial and a Challenge,” Dana A. Williams, Howard Univ.

2. “The Black Book: Creating an Interactive Research Environment,” Kenton Rambsy, Univ. of Kansas

3. “Keepin’ It Interactive: Hip-Hop in the Age of Digital Reproduction,” Regina Bradley, Kennesaw State Univ.; Jeremy Dean, Rap Genius, Inc.

414. Literature and Media in the Nineteenth-Century United States

Chicago A–B, Chicago Marriott

Program arranged by the Division on Nineteenth-Century American Literature 

PRESIDING : Meredith L. McGill, Rutgers Univ., New Brunswick

SPEAKERS: Jonathan Elmer, Indiana Univ., Bloomington

Teresa Alice Goddu, Vanderbilt Univ.

Naomi Greyser, Univ. of Iowa

Brian Hochman, Georgetown Univ.

Christopher J. Lukasik, Purdue Univ., West Lafayette

Lauren A. Neefe, Stony Brook Univ., State Univ. of New York

For project statements, panelist biographies, and description of roundtable format, visit19thcamlitdiv.wordpress.com after 1 Dec.

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"Cubs Stomp" by Flickr user John W. Iwanski, CC-BY-NC-2.0

“Cubs Stomp” by Flickr user John W. Iwanski, CC-BY-NC-2.0

SATURDAY, JANUARY 11, 2014

8:30 am-9:45 am

441. Socialist Senses

Ohio, Sheraton Chicago

Program arranged by the Discussion Group on Slavic Literatures and Cultures 

PRESIDING : Nancy Condee, Univ. of Pittsburgh

1. “The Materiality of Sound: Esfir Shub’s Haptic Cinema,” Lilya Kaganovsky, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana

2. “From the Cinema of Attractions to the Cinema of Affect in Early Socialist Realism,” R. J. D. Bird, Univ. of Chicago

3. “Ineluctable Modality of the Visible: Gorky’s Return and the Onset of Clarity,” Petre M. Petrov, Princeton Univ.

For abstracts, visit mlaslavic.blogspot.com/ after 30 Dec.

447. The Seventies in Black and White: A Soundtrack

Purdue-Wisconsin, Chicago Marriott 

PRESIDING : Jack Hamilton, Harvard Univ.

1. “Mutts of the Planet: Joni Mitchell Channels Charles Mingus,” David Yaffe, Syracuse Univ.

2. “Righteous Minstrels: Race, Writing, and the Clash,” Jack Hamilton

3. “Broken Masculinities: Black Sound, White Men, and New York City,” Scott Poulson-Bryant, Harvard Univ.

10:15 am-11:30 am

474. African American Voices from the Civil War

Michigan–Michigan State, Chicago Marriott 

PRESIDING : Timothy Sweet, West Virginia Univ., Morgantown

1. “The Color of Quaintness: Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Black Song, and American Union,”Jeremy Wells, Indiana Univ. Southeast

2. “‘If We Ever Expect to Be a Pepple’: The Literary Culture of African American Soldiers,” Christopher A. Hager, Trinity Coll., CT

3. “‘And Terrors Broke from Hill to Hill’: The Civil War Poems of George Moses Horton,” Faith Barrett, Duquesne Univ.

4. “The Negro in the American Rebellion: William Wells Brown and the Design of African American History,” John Ernest, Univ. of Delaware, Newark

485. Digital Practice: Social Networks across Borders

Missouri, Sheraton Chicago

Program arranged by the Division on Twentieth-Century German Literature 

PRESIDING : Stefanie Harris, Texas A&M Univ., College Station

1. “Kafka and the Kafkaesques: Close Reading Online Fan Fiction,” Bonnie Ruberg, Univ. of California, Berkeley

2. “Network Politics, Wireless Protocols, and Public Space,” Erik Born, Univ. of California, Berkeley

3. “Intersections of Music, Politics, and Digital Media: Bandista,” Ela Gezen, Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst

Responding: Yasemin Yildiz, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana

For abstracts, visit german.berkeley.edu/transit.

12:00 pm-1:15 pm

508. Performing Blackness in the Nineteenth Century

Chicago A–B, Chicago Marriott

Program arranged by the Division on Nineteenth-Century American Literature 

PRESIDING : Harvey Young, Northwestern Univ.

1. “Being Touched: Sojourner Truth’s ‘Spiritual Theatre’ and the Genealogy of Radical Black Activism,” Jayna Brown, Univ. of California, Riverside

2. “Frederick Douglass and the ‘Claims’ of Democratic Individuality in Antebellum Political Theory,” Douglas Jones, Princeton Univ.

3. “’Dey Make Me Say Dat All De Time: Performance Art, Objecthood, and Joice Heth’s Sonic of Dissent,” Uri McMillan, Univ. of California, Los Angeles

509. Becoming Chroniclers: Latin American Women Writers and the Press, 1920–73

Parlor F, Sheraton Chicago 

PRESIDING : Vicky Unruh, Univ. of Kansas

1. “The Opportunities of Technology: Cube Bonifant’s Radiophonic Chronicles in El universal ilustrado,” Viviane A. Mahieux, Univ. of California, Irvine

2. “Key Moments in the Subversion of a Genre: Alfonsina Storni and Clarice Lispector Redefine Womanhood,” Mariela Méndez, Univ. of Richmond

3. “Issues of Gender and Genre: Isabel Allende and Clarice Lispector Writing Chronicles, 1968–73,” Claudia Mariana Darrigrandi, Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez

1:45 pm-3:00pm

572. Illness and Disability Memoir as Embodied Knowledge

Los Angeles–Miami, Chicago Marriott

Program arranged by the MLA Committee on Disability Issues in the Profession 

PRESIDING : Rachel Adams, Columbia Univ.

1. “Recoding Silence: Teresa de Cartagena, Medieval Sign Lexicons, and Deaf Life Writing,” Jonathan H. Hsy, George Washington Univ.

2. “‘Twisted and Deformed’: Virginia Woolf, Alison Bechdel, and Crip-Feminist Autobiography,” Cynthia Barounis, Washington Univ. in St. Louis

3. “‘My Worry Now Accumulates’: Sensorial and Emotional Contagion in Autistic Life Writing,” Ralph James Savarese, Grinnell Coll.

For papers or abstracts, write to rea15@columbia.edu after 1 Jan.

3:30 pm-4:45 pm

586. Early Modern Media Ecologies

Great America, Chicago Marriott 

PRESIDING: Jen Boyle, Coastal Carolina Univ.

1. “Needlework Networks: Paper, Prints, and Female Authorship,” Whitney Trettien, Duke Univ.

2. “Sidney Circularities: Music and Script in the Contrafactum Lyric,” Scott A. Trudell, Univ. of Maryland, College Park

3. “Stage, Stall, Street, Sheet: Multimedia Shakespeare,” Adam G. Hooks, Univ. of Iowa

For abstracts, visit www.scotttrudell.com.

591. Multilingualism in Native American and Aboriginal Texts

Kane, Chicago Marriott

Program arranged by the Division on American Indian Literatures 

PRESIDING : Beth H. Piatote, Univ. of California, Berkeley

1. “Reading Resistance and Resisting Readings in a Bilingual Text,” Laura J. Beard, Univ. of Alberta

2. “Narrative and Orthography in Cree Oral Histories,” Stephanie J. Fitzgerald, Univ. of Kansas

3. “Ongwe Onwe Languages in the Fourth Epoch of Iroquois History,” Penelope M. Kelsey, Univ. of Colorado, Boulder

4. “Poetics of ka ‘āina and na ‘ōiwi: Language(s) of Land, Earth, and the Hawaiian People in Haunani-Kay Trask’s Night Is a Sharkskin Drum,” Nicole Tabor, Moravian Coll.

5:15 pm-6:30 pm

624. Boethius’s Consolation of Philosophy in Medieval and Early Modern England: Form and History

Old Town, Chicago Marriott 

PRESIDING : Ian Cornelius, Yale Univ.

1. “Singing and Speaking Boethius in Anglo-Saxon England,” Anne Schindel, Yale Univ.

2. “Sensible Prose and the Sense of Meter: Ethics and the Mixed Form in Boethius and After,” Eleanor Johnson, Columbia Univ.

3. “Boethius’s Consolation of Philosophy and an Expansive Theology in the Late Sixteenth Century: Queen Elizabeth’s Translation in Context,” Linda Suzanne Shenk, Iowa State Univ.

For abstracts, write to ian.cornelius@yale.edu.

625. Verbal and Visual Satire in the Nineteenth Century

Chicago F, Chicago Marriott 

PRESIDING : Joseph Litvak, Tufts Univ.

1. “Organizing Anarchy: Class, Intellectual Property, and Graphic Satire,” Jason Kolkey, Loyola Univ., Chicago

2. “The Reemergence of Radical Satire in the Late Nineteenth Century,” Frank A. Palmeri, Univ. of Miami

3. “Turn-of-the-Century Satirical Plots of Fenian and Anarchist Terrorism,” Jennifer Malia, Norfolk State Univ

645. Current Issues in Romance Linguistics

Parlor F, Sheraton Chicago

Program arranged by the Discussion Group on Comparative Romance Linguistics 

PRESIDING : Andrea Perez Mukdsi, Univ. at Buffalo, State Univ. of New York

1. “Attribution in Romance: Reconstructing the Oral and Written Tradition,” Martin Hummel, Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz

2. “Pronouns and the Author-Reader Relationship in Academic Portuguese,” Karina Veronica Molsing, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul; Cristina Perna, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul

3. “The Semantic Feature [+INFLUENCE] and the Spanish Subjunctive,” M. Emma Ticio Quesada, Syracuse Univ.

4. “Palatalization in Chilean Spanish and Proto-romance,” Carolina Gonzalez, Florida State Univ.

For abstracts, write to perezmukdsi@gmail.com.

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"Mayb Your New Year Be Merry and Bright..." by Flickr user Jason Mrachina, CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0

“Mayb Your New Year Be Merry and Bright…” by Flickr user Jason Mrachina, CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0

SUNDAY, JANUARY 12, 2014

12:00 pm-1:15 pm

742. Socialist Culture in the Age of Disco: East European Popular Pleasures

Parlor F, Sheraton Chicago

Program arranged by the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages 

PRESIDING: Jessie M. Labov, Ohio State Univ., Columbus

1. “Imperial Disco: Czeslaw Milosz and Science Fiction,” Mikolaj Golubiewski, Free Univ.

2. “The ‘Movement of Writing Workers’ and State Stability in the 1970s German Democratic Republic,” William Waltz, Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison

3. “Flaming Socialist Creatures: Hippies as Auteurs in Soviet Latvia,” Mark Svede, Ohio State Univ., Columbus

For abstracts, visit mlaslavic.blogspot.com/.

744. Mass versus Coterie: The Audiobook

Missouri, Sheraton Chicago

Program arranged by the Division on Prose Fiction 

PRESIDING : Rebecca L. Walkowitz, Rutgers Univ., New Brunswick

1. “‘Fully Fleshed Out and Filled with Emotion’: Accent, Region, and Identification in the Reception of The Help,” Sydney Bufkin, Univ. of Texas, Austin

2. “Joyce, LibriVox, and the Recording Coterie,” Brandon Walsh, Univ. of Virginia

3. “Alien Stereo: China Mieville’s Embassytown,” Christopher Pizzino, Univ. of Georgia

1:45 pm-3:00 pm

788. Back Up Your Work: Conceptualizing Writing Support for Graduate Students

Grace, Chicago Marriott 

PRESIDING : Liana Silva-Ford, Houston, TX

SPEAKERS:

Tara Betts, Binghamton Univ., State Univ. of New York;

Lee Ann Glowzenski, Duquesne Univ.;

Annemarie Pérez, Loyola Marymount Univ.

Abigail Scheg, Elizabeth City State Univ.

792. Old Materials, New Materialisms

Missouri, Sheraton Chicago

Program arranged by the Division on Methods of Literary Research

1. “Objects, Authors, and Other Matter(s) in the Gloria Anzaldúa Archive,” Suzanne M. Bost, Loyola Univ., Chicago

2. “Writing Histories of Listening: Acoustemology as Literary Practice,” Ely Rosenblum, Univ. of Cambridge

3. “Even the Stones Cry Out: Archival Research and the Inhuman Turn,” Andrew Ferguson, Univ. of Virginia

4. “A Life of Its Own: A Vital Materialist Look at the Medieval Manuscript as an Agentic Assemblage,” Angela Bennett Segler, New York Univ.

"my kind of razzmatazz" by Flickr user David D'Agostino, CC-BY-NC-SA-2.0

“my kind of razzmatazz” by Flickr user David D’Agostino, CC-BY-NC-SA-2.0

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