The Center for the Humanities

The Vibrating World: Soundscapes and Undersongs


About the conference

Join us for “The Vibrating World”, the annual English Student Association Graduate Student Conference exploring sound and song with keynote speaker Joseph Straus, Distinguished Professor of Music, The Graduate Center, CUNY. If we take seriously Jacques Attali’s claim that the world is “not legible, but audible,” what scholarly shifts are possible by turning our focus to acts of listening and representations of sound? Sound has long been represented in literature, philosophy, art, and science, but we are only now encountering a ‘sonic boom’ in critical and theoretical writings on sound in the humanities and social sciences. If we scramble our notions of language, what other sounds, voices, musics, or  understandings might become legible or audible to us? We will consider the spaces between words, pauses between calls and responses, and the breaths and rests that produce multidimensional rhythms, harmonies, discordances, resolutions, and meanings, the undersong that carries the burden of a song, the chorus, the refrain.

Keynote Lectures: 
Joseph Straus, Distinguished Professor of Music, The Graduate Center, CUNY, and author of Extraordinary Measures: Disability in Music.
David Rothenberg
, author of Why Birds Sing, composer, and musician.

For more information, visit the conference website here.

Cosponsored by the English Student Association, The PhD Program in English, and the Ecocriticism Working Group