CCA 2023 24 Banner SoundStudiesBanner

Theme for 2023-25: Sound Studies

CCA will explore aspects of Sound Studies over two consecutive years of sponsored seminars and related programming. In 2023-24 the theme will be “Voice: Sound, Technology, and Performance,” while in 2024-25 the focus shifts to “Resonance: Sound among the Disciplines.”

Sound Studies is an emerging interdisciplinary field that has drawn from musicology, ethnomusicology, performance studies, media studies, anthropology, gender studies, literary and cultural studies, ethnic and indigenous studies, religion, animal studies, classics, and philosophy. It has been especially hospitable to Black scholars and performers with expertise in orature and other vocal traditions.

For the 2023-24 seminar, we invite scholars, performers, and other practitioners in the arts, humanities, and sciences to think with us about the history, metaphysics, and expressive range of voice as an artistic and phenomenological category in world (and, in some discourses, other-world) experience. What is the relationship of voice to the body in these various senses? What is voice relative to the human as an onto-anthropological unit? Relative to a new era’s new technologies? Relative to audition as a historical or cultural practice? As easily as these queries are posed, recent scholarship and artistic performance suggest they are not so plainly answered.

Reflecting on these questions, the seminar will meet biweekly during the semester to discuss emerging trends in the field as well as each member’s work-in-progress. Leading artists and scholars will join us periodically to enrich and broaden our considerations of the voice, its histories and futures. A final conference and series of performances will cap the year’s work in the seminar and help prepare for the 2024-25 seminar focused on resonance.

The 2024-25 seminar will entail a more expansive exploration of “Resonance: Sound Among the Disciplines.” Whereas the study of voice pursues an imagined materiality in the sonic field (i.e. the voice as sound object), resonance might be understood as an imagined immateriality, an aural effect in the sonic field that, try as it might, cannot escape its materialization in bodily, architectural, and environmental concerns across the modern disciplines. This analytic difference between voice and resonance is not to be too much taken for granted, however. Indeed, the question of these terms’ distinction—of the one as a causal force or drive in sound and the other as an effect of sound to the ear—is sure to be covered, and debated, over the proposed two years of sound’s urgent historical and cultural analysis.

2023-24 Seminar - Voice: Sound, Technology, Performance
Directed by: Andrew Parker and Maurice Wallace

2024-25 Seminar - Resonance: Sound across the Disciplines
Directed by Xiaojue Wang and Carter Mathes