Spring 2022 Undergraduate English Courses

359:460 Seminar: Topics in Media Theory

01   TTTH  2:00-3:20    CAC   08295    MATHES   FH-A4 

Sound Studies in Theory and Practice

How has our experience of sound changed throughout history and particularly in our rapidly evolving present--as we move for instance, from the drum and piano to the personal computer, and from the phonograph to the mp3 (and back)? How have political, commercial, and cultural forces shaped what we (choose to) listen to, how we listen, and how we imagine and write about the sounds around us? Engaging with these questions and more, this course examines central themes in the emerging multidisciplinary field of Sound Studies. We will explore a range of approaches to sound and listening as they intersect with topics in literary studies as well as media studies, science and technology studies, and musicology. We will be especially concerned with how writers, artists (visual and sonic), musicians, and performers have shaped their work in relationship to the changing soundscapes of urban and rural life, the ecosystems of our natural worlds, and contexts of political activism and struggle.

Our seminar work will include regular attendance and active verbal participation, work with sound production in the Plangere Culture Lab, short written responses to selected readings, a midterm essay, and a final project (with creative options/components).