Sounding the Spectral: A Symposium this May 12th and 13th

Giant Slide by Elissa Osterland


"Sounding the Spectral: A Symposium," co-organized by Seth Brodsky (Associate Professor, Music; Director, Richard and Mary L. Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry) and Martha Feldman (Ferdinand Schevill Distinguished Professor of Music and Theater & Performance Studies), will take place May 12 and 13 across three venues on campus. Keynote speaker Fumi Okiji (Assistant Professor of Rhetoric, University of California, Berkeley) presents Subjunctive, Semblant, Spectral; Haiti’s Infrasonic Blur on the first day of the symposium.  

“Spectral”: a borderline concept, fusing absence and presence, but also delay and reckoning, the demand and reluctance to contend with past gaps that trouble the present. The spectral is also always a struggle with the contemporary and its lags. How might music and sound meet the spectral now? How might they help us rethink dilemmas that still haunt while also conjuring new futures? Contemporary experience demands rethinking the spectral in colonial and planetary terms while taking stock of new spatial and temporal displacements and new regimes of repression, secrecy, and surveillance. Sound and music emerge as sympathetic to the task, their own centrifugal nature meeting the spectral at its most manifold and elusive.

Symposium participants include:

Carolyn Abbate, Harvard University
Jessica Swanston Baker, University of Chicago
Seth Brodsky, University of Chicago
Joshua Chambers-Letson, Northwestern University
Amy Cimini, University of California San Diego
Martin Daughtry, New York University
Martha Feldman, University of Chicago
Michael Gallope, University of Minnesota
Bonnie Gordon, University of Virginia
Darren Kusar, University of Chicago
Jairo Moreno, University of Pennsylvania
Varshini (Nina) Narayanan, University of Chicago
Fumi Okiji, University of California, Berkeley
Andrei Pohorelsky, University of Chicago
Danielle Roper, University of Chicago
Audrey Slote, University of Chicago

Visit the symposium website for full details, including the program schedule, abstracts, and more. 

Sponsored by the University of Chicago’s Department of Music, the Franke Institute for the Humanities, the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture, in part by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Division of the Humanities, the Office of the Provost, and UChicago Arts.

Image by Elissa Osterland, Teaching Fellow: Visual Arts, UChicago. You can find the artist’s work here.