UAH hosts Sound Studies Symposium, April 2-3


The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) will host the Sound Studies Symposium: "Sound and Beyond: Acoustics, Visuality, and Culture in the Digital Media Age," Thursday and Friday, April 2-3.

The event will feature internationally renowned guest speakers Joy Calico (Vanderbilt University), Trevor Pinch (Cornell University), and Jonathan Sterne (McGill University).

The symposium will feature two keynote lectures, and a roundtable discussion. The two-day event is sponsored by the UAH Department of World Languages and Cultures, and the Humanities Center. All symposium events are free and open to the public and will be held in Wilson Hall room 168.

The emerging field of sound studies is an exciting interdisciplinary project combining media studies, musicology, literary criticism, history, cultural critique, anthropology, and psychology.

This "acoustic turn" examines the historical and cultural contexts of sound (re-) production through technological media, tracing the global differences in sound perception across national boundaries, ethnic identities, and political systems in our digital age.

Appealing to Huntsville's centrality in science and technology, the UAH Sound Studies Symposium welcomes gather a group of internationally renowned scholars to discuss these and related topics from a broadly humanistic perspective. The symposium will be of interest to faculty, students, and the North Alabama community.

On Thursday, April 2, at 7 p.m., Dr. Trevor Pinch presents the keynote lecture, "Sound Studies: The Sound of Economic Exchange."

At 4:30 p.m., on Friday, April 3, the Sound Studies Symposium Roundtable features Dr. Joy Calico and other guest presenters. And, at 7 p.m., the second keynote lecture "In Search of Compression: What MP3s Can Teach Us about Sound, Hearing, Culture and Media in the Digital Age," will be presented by Dr. Jonathan Sterne.

Keynote Speaker Biographies:

  • Professor Joy H. Calico associate professor of Musicology; director, Max Kade Center for European and German Studies at the Vanderbilt University Blair School for Music. Calico does interdisciplinary work on Cold War cultural politics and on opera. She is the author ofArnold Schoenberg's A Survivor from Warsaw in Postwar Europe (2014) and Brecht at the Opera (2008), as well as numerous articles and book chapters in publications such as Dislocated Memories: Jews, Music, and Postwar German Culture and The Oxford Handbook of Opera.
  • Professor Trevor Pinch Goldwin Smith Professor of Science and Technology Studies, and Director of Graduate Studies at Cornell University. Pinch's main research centers on several areas: (1) the sociology of technology and how users engage with technology, (2) sound studies and music and in particular how sonic technologies and listening cultures develop, (3) understanding the role of materiality and agency in technology, (4) markets and the economy with specific attention to the study of selling, persuasion, and entrepreneurship. He recently edited the Oxford Handbook of Sound Studies.
  • Professor Jonathan Sterne Professor and James McGill Chair in Culture and Technology at McGill University. Sterne's work is concerned with the cultural dimensions of communication technologies, especially their form and role in large-scale societies. One of his major ongoing projects has involved developing the history and theory of sound in the modern west. Beyond the work on sound and music, he has published over fifty articles and book chapters that cover a wide range of topics in media history, new media, cultural theory and disability studies. Sterne is the author of MP3: The Meaning of a Format (2012) and The Audible Past: Cultural Origins of Sound Reproduction (2003). Sterne edited The Politics of Academic Labor in Communication Studies (2013) and The Sound Studies Reader (2012).