Visions of Sound: The Aural in German Literature and History

February 8, 2008

15th Annual University of Virginia German Graduate Studies Conference

Filed under: Announcement — Dylan Goldblatt @ 6:18 pm

Recent studies in literature, theater and film have paid some attention to the manifestations of sound, but have tended to privilege the visual in their interpretive paradigms.  Sound in its organic and artificial form is created and interpreted within society; its cultural products and meanings have changed over time. Simultaneously, sound is a creative element that involves both individual and cultural perceptions. The disciplines of the humanities seem best equipped to explore the engagement between the aural and the cultural.

Sounds both natural and artificial in origin and propagation can operate on scientific and metaphoric levels. It is the purpose of this conference to analyze where the boundaries of these levels exist and overlap by posing questions such as: how can sounds be harmonious and yet disruptive to different listeners? What differentiates speech from music and speech from “pure sound”?  How are we to understand the absence or surplus of sound? Possible topics might include (but are not limited to) the following:

Sounds of Birth, Redemption, Apocalypse
(Poetic) Soundscapes
The Ineffable, Unnamable, Unspeakable
The Silent and The Silenced
Echoes: Structural, Theoretic, Cultural
Art and Politics of Sound
Consonance and Dissonance
Dialogues and Disagreements
Music and Empire
Performances: Music/ Memory/ Text
Voicing/ Narration
Diachronic Interpretations of Sound


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