The Music & Sound Studies Reading Group is a new Rackham Interdisciplinary Workshop convened by graduate students in German, Music, Architecture, History, and the School of Information, and advised by German Department Professors Kira Thurman and Tyler Whitney. The group aims to open up much-needed space for graduate students on campus to exchange original research and discuss key theoretical texts related to music and sonic culture across a variety of disciplinary perspectives—from media theory, literary studies, and the history of science, to affect theory, ‘new materialism,’ and actor-network theory. The group’s stated goal is to develop conceptual flexibility in thinking through a common set of questions located at the intersection of aesthetics, politics, and the histories of acoustic media and auditory perception. This year the group chose the topic “Sound and Power” to organize a series of discussions, which culminated in a talk by the musicologist William Cheng (Dartmouth College).
Next year, in conjunction with discussions of participants’ own research, the group is planning a one-day conference on related questions and concerns. Anyone interested in joining should contact Emily Gauld (German) or Kathyrn Wataha (History) at musicandsoundstudies@ umich.edu.