Auditory Knowledge – Københavns Universitet

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ESSA2014: Mapping the Field > Documents > Auditory Knowledge

Auditory Knowledge: Towards an Epistemic History of Listening in Modernity
Daniel Morat

In recent years, sound studies have mainly been pursued with a methodological focus on cultural and media studies and with a temporal focus on the second half of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st century. Pioneer studies such as Jonathan Sterne’s The Audible Past or Myles Jackson’s Harmonious Triads have shown, though, that in order to understand current modes of dealing with sound, one has to retrace longer traditions of auditory techniques and sonic cultures. In following these impulses, this panel proposes to extent the historical scope of sound studies into the 19th century and, at the same time, to shift the methodological focus from cultural studies to historical epistemology. By doing so, it aims to reveal the epistemic status of listening in modern cultures of knowledge which have long been understood to be dominated by “scopic regimes” (Martin Jay). The notion of “auditory knowledge” central to this undertaking is intended to be two-directional: On the one hand, it denotes knowledge on sound and listening in the different fields of knowledge (i.e. not only scientific knowledge, but also literary, musical or practical knowledge on sound and listening). On the other hand, it aims to indicate the role of listening in the process of knowledge production and communication. What kind of (scientific, literary, musical etc.) knowledge is transmitted through sound? In which situations does the ear function as organ of knowledge? By posing these questions, the study of auditory knowledge in the 19th and 20th century will also contribute to an historical understanding of some of the concepts and notions still active in sound studies today.

Panel XIII: Auditory Knowledge. Towards an Epistemic History of Listening in Modernity I
Chair: Daniel Morat
Time: Saturday 15:45-17:45

  • Gess, Nicola: Hearing the essence. Ideologies of sound in the long 19th century and today
  • Grünberg, Angela: Tone as Action and Action as Revealing of Knowledge
  • Volmar, Axel: Scientific Listening, Auditory Display, and the Construction of Sonic Facts, 1800 – now

Panel XIX: Auditory Knowledge: Towards an Epistemic History of Listening in Modernity II
Chair: Daniel Morat
Time: Sunday 9-11

  • Carmi, Elinor: Noise (bio)politics
  • Enns, Anthony: Sound Photography
  • Ouzounian, Gascia & Sarah A Lappin: The Acoustic Mapping Of Cities: Sound Maps and Listening Maps