About the conference

Join us for “The Vibrating World”, the annual English Student Association Graduate Student Conference exploring sound and song with keynote speakers Joseph Straus, Distinguished Professor of Music, The Graduate Center, CUNY, and David Rothenberg, author of Why Birds Sing, composer, and musician. 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.


9:00-10:15 Session I

Silence, Sound & Liberation (Room 8301)

Redefining Literacy: Silence, Empowerment, and Intersectional Identity in Janet Mock’s Redefining Realness

Anna Zeemont, CUNY Graduate Center

Daring to Speak: Expressions of Female Desire in “The Tale of Apollonius of Tyre”

Jennifer Alberghini, CUNY Graduate Center

“God Save the USA”: Rock Against Bush and the Punk Negation of Anti-Politics

Stefano Morello, CUNY Graduate Center

Acoustic Environments (Room 8304)

Public spaces, everyday sounds: experiencing Alameda’s acoustic environment

Margarita Cuéllar and Ana Garay, Universidad Icesi

Site-Specific Music Composition and the Soniferous Garden

Barry R. Morse

“But What Can Unassisted Vision Do?” Attendant Sounds in Robert Bloomfield’s The Farmer’s Boy

Sean Nolan, CUNY Graduate Center

Reading Moby-Dick as a Sonic Novel

Paul Hebert, CUNY Graduate Center

10:30-11:45 Session II

Sonic Warfare (Room 8301)

Breaking Nature’s Silence: The Traumatic Effects of Anthropogenic Sound

Sarah Hildebrand, CUNY Graduate Center

The Resonance of the Soviet War Song “Dark Nights”

Amy Emery Kraizman, CUNY Graduate Center

Tinnitus and the Soundscapes of Trauma: Toward a Politics of Masking

Micheal Angelo Rumore, CUNY Graduate Center

Landscapes of Nation and the Ungrievability of the Multilingual Subject

Nicholas Glastonbury, CUNY Graduate Center

Listening as Critical Practice (Room 8304)

Queer Resonances: Music, Sound Science, and Homoerotic Desire in Fin-de-siècle British Fiction

Shannon Draucker, Boston University

Listening With William Cowper

Charles W. Rowe, CUNY Graduate Center

The Acoustics of Bare Life in Kafka’s Late Stories

David Copenhafer, Bard Early College

Performances (Segal Theatre, First Floor)


12:00 PM Lunch

On your own

1:00-2:00 David Rothenberg, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy & Music

Lecture and Performance in Segal Theatre, First Floor

2:15-3:30 Session III

Musical Thinking and Writing (Room 8301)

A Musical Epistemology for the Social Sciences

Matthew Devine, CUNY Graduate Center

Thought Tormented Music: The Dead and the Silence of Literary Song

Dan Jacobson, CUNY Graduate Center

The Mute and the Confidence Man: Herman Melville’s Phenomenology of Silence

Bradley Nelson, CUNY Graduate Center

“Conversation is a game of Circles”: Emerson and Rorty, Rorty and Emerson

Austin Bailey, CUNY Graduate Center

Visual and Aural Aesthetics (Room 8304)

Wordsworth’s Symphonic Landscapes: Romantic Cymatics and “Ingenious Nonsense.”

Rasheed Hinds, CUNY Graduate Center

“hard to imagine a country”: Neighbors, Gossip, Friends, and Empathy in David Antin’s “Talking” and “Talking at the Boundaries”

Elizabeth Bidwell Goetz, CUNY Graduate Center

What is the Music of the Language of the Color?

Andrew Demirjian, Hunter College

“I’ve never seen a magazine played this professionally before!” Cable Access’s “TV Party” and Carnivalesque Resistance

Seth Graves, CUNY Graduate Center

Sonic and Textual Archives (Room 8400)

Audio Archives in a Digital Era: Approaching Recorded Materials in New American Poetry

Mary Catherine Kinniburgh, CUNY Graduate Center

“Not a Sound but an Emotion”: Rudolph Fisher’s “Common Meter,” Bessie Smith, and the “St. Louis Blues”

Aidan Levy, Columbia University

Not What The Siren Sang: Sound Poetry in the Archive

Zack Brown, University at Buffalo

Close-Listening Charles Olson’s “The Kingfishers”

Cherrie Kwok, New York University

Performances (Segal Theatre, First Floor)


4:00-5:00 Joseph Straus, Distinguished Professor of Music

Lecture in English Department Lounge, Room 4409

5:00-6:15 Reception

English Department Lounge, Room 4409

For more information, visit the conference website here.

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