Approaches to Sound in the Early Modern Atlantic World (Day 1)
Fri 2/3/2023 • 10AM - 5:30PM PST
UCLA William Andrews Clark Memorial Library
This conference will be held in person at the Clark Library and livestreamed on the Center’s YouTube Channel. Please visit our website for the program schedule and to RSVP.
Rooted in history, Atlantic studies has expanded to include scholarship on literature, intellectual exchange, material culture and more. Nevertheless, music remains marginalized within the field. In fact, Glenda Goodman remarked that it “remains conspicuously absent in studies of the cultural mixtures inherent to the Atlantic world.” She points to musicology’s relative isolation and the challenges of cross-disciplinary dialogue as barriers to more fully incorporating music into the paradigm. Sound studies’ interdisciplinarity is useful for addressing this lacuna. Inquiry into Atlantic-world auditory cultures will further debates in a field where notions of visual dominance and the orality/writing dichotomy often guide interpretations of cultural interactions. In response to this binarism, recent scholarship in early music has used untapped sources and new approaches to draw out previously marginalized voices in the Atlantic empires (Baker, Bloechl Native American, Irving and Tomlinson). Nevertheless, scholars argue for the subject’s continued expansion.
In response to these questions, “Approaches to Sound in the Early Modern Atlantic World” brings together scholars who grapple with the challenges of studying sound cultures in the Atlantic empires. Some strive to reconcile the apparent split between performance and the written archive. They examine accounts, scores, hymnals, biographical remnants and chronicles for evidence of musical or festival soundscapes in order to piece together the acoustical fabric of the past. Others seek to re-sound “lost” or marginalized voices in a more literal fashion, by reconstructing sonic archives or creating performances that engage the audience with the auditory experience and imagination of listeners in the early modern Atlantic.