Welcome to the Sonic Circulations Research Blog. This is a platform to share research and perspectives for junior and emerging scholars working on topics that engage musical, scientific, and/or technological issues.
Contact us if you would like to contribute, or have ideas for blog posts.
Jacob Kingsbury Downs (University of Sheffield) considers a lesser-explored capacity of headphone technologies to inflict pain, shifting emphasis from physical excesses of volume, towards the erosive effect on selfhood, and reflects on its mobilization by the US and Chinese states. ‘Like a Voice within his Head’: Headphones and State-Sanctioned Psychological Manipulation In the early years of the… Continue reading Jacob Kingsbury Downs: ‘Like a Voice within his Head’
Here, Peter Asimov (University of Cambridge) explores a historical moment – fin-de-siècle and early twentieth-century France – when the discipline of musicology and practices of composition were overtly allied with the science of comparative philology, perhaps absorbing some of comparative philology’s more troubling ideological affinities. Comparative Philology, Musicology, Composition: Disciplinary Interfaces and Musical Boundary Objects What… Continue reading Peter Asimov: Comparative Philology, Musicology, Composition
In 2016, Maria Murphy and Roksana Filipowska set up Listening (to) Cyborgs, a collaborative media archaeology lab at the University of Pennsylvania. Here, Maria Murphy delves into what it means to work at the intersection of theory and practice, and how doing so has informed her research on Laurie Anderson. Above: first session of Listening (to) Cyborgs Media Archaeology and the Cyborg… Continue reading Maria Murphy: Media Archaeology and the Cyborg
Contemplating his recent work on experimental practice at the San Francisco Tape Music Center, Ted Gordon (Columbia University) gestures towards the wider research possibilities of a “diffractive” approach that dwells in, and even expands, the spaces where the reconciliation of music, science, and technology fails. Ted’s website can be found here. Diffracting the San Francisco Tape Music… Continue reading Ted Gordon: Diffracting the San Francisco Tape Music Center
M. Elizabeth Fleming (CUNY Graduate Center) reflects on her critical organological research on the horn, arguing for the ethical and socio-political potential of what she calls “partial perspectives” in configuring our embodied knowledge of what music is, and what music can be. Partial Perspectives The objects to be classified are alive and dynamic, indifferent to sharp… Continue reading M. Elizabeth Fleming: Partial Perspectives
Joseph Pfender (New York University) begins to sketch out a cross-disciplinary area of research and thinking, touching on sound studies but much more closely allied with global circulation and history of technology. Its relation to his dissertation work on magnetic tape experimentalism is tangential, but might triangulate a comparative global history of technology in which… Continue reading Joseph Pfender: Struck History
In this piece, Laurie Lee, PhD candidate in historical musicology and ethnomusicology at Harvard University, interrogates the “conceptual umbilical cord” tethering the idea of “technology” to how the West imagines itself. In parallel with insights developed through her work on the history of medicine and of the voice in twentieth-century Korea, she explores how scholars can… Continue reading Laurie Lee: Against the Linear Temporality of Technophilia and Techno-nationalism
The Sonic Circulations Research Blog provides an informal space for a conversation between junior scholars doing the newest research where musical and scientific/technological discourses intersect. In particular, we welcome posts that examine the methodological and ethical problems such interdisciplinary work raises. At this point the blog is nascent and experimental. Blog posts could explore different styles or… Continue reading Write For Us…
In this post, Alexander Cowan, graduate student in historical musicology at Harvard University, considers some methodological and ethical questions in relation to his research on music in the American eugenics movement. In particular, he has focused on the psychologist Carl E. Seashore, whose method of quantifying supposedly inherited musical talent was taken up by hundreds… Continue reading Alexander Cowan: Methods and Ethics