Sound and Auditory Culture in Greco-Roman Antiquity — Department of classical studies at the University of Missouri

 In Call for Papers, Uncategorized

First Call For Papers.
April 1-2, 2016
Deadline: July 1, 2015

The Department of classical studies at the University of Missouri is delighted to invite abstract submissions for a conference on sound and auditory culture in Greco-Roman antiquity to be held in Columbia, MO on April 1-2, 2016. Keynote addresses will be delivered by Pauline LeVen (Yale), Shane Butler (Johns Hopkins), and Tim Powers (Rutgers).

A convergence of new or newly vital scholarly considerations – including the return to aesthetics, neoformalism, renewed emphases on ancient music, performance studies and the history of embodied practice, the anthropology of the senses, science-studies and media-historiography, not to mention the flourishing interdisciplinary field of sound-studies itself – has made the study of sound and sound culture in ancient Greece and Rome not only viable but also crucially important. How was sound experienced, encoded, communicated, theorized, manipulated or mitigated in antiquity? What patterns of social, cultural, political, and aesthetic behavior shaped ancient auditory experience, and how, in turn, did auditory experience shape these broader areas of concern? In short, what did antiquity sound like?

This conference aims to convene a community of scholars with active or nascent interests in sound and auditory culture in antiquity, in order to document current work and explore avenues for future research. To that end, we welcome proposals for 20-30 minute presentation reporting on research relating to sound, auditory culture, or auditory experience in all aspects of the ancient Greek and Roman culture. Topics might include (but are certainly not limited to):

• Discussions of the aesthetics of artworks created within auditory media (poetry, music, song, etc)
• Discussions of the aesthetic theories of ancient thinkers concerned with auditory artforms
• Studies based on inventories of sounds and soundful objects within individual works or groups of works defined by cultural milieu or historical period
• Studies of ancient theories of sound; what was sound to ancient philosophers, acousticians, architects, music theorists, physicians, etc?
• Historical reconstructions, implemented in written, visual, or auditory media, of the soundscapes of ancient contexts (the urban, rural, or domestic soundscape, etc)
• The historical lexicography of sound
• The cultural pragmatics of sound – when were sounds mentioned, and why? What did sounds say about sociological factors like species-identity, class, gender, wealth, race, or political affiliation?
• Methodological considerations are especially welcome: what are the strengths and weaknesses of our current tools for the study of ancient sound culture? What can be borrowed from the historiography of sound in other periods and what innovations are required?
• Crossings and inter-penetrations of any of the above, or of any of the above with questions not listed here, or of questions not listed here with other questions not listed here.

Submissions, comprising a 200-350 word abstract and a cv, should be sent to by July 1, 2015.

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