051. Soundscapes: Listening to the Past and Present

D. Skeehan (English)
Full Course -- 4 Credits
Fall Semester FYSP 051-01 TR 9:30-10:45
Fall Semester FYSP 051-02 TR 11:00-12:15

How has sound shaped the history of human experience? To answer this question we will examine sound and hearing from historical, cultural, and material perspectives. We will “listen” broadly, considering how, before the invention of modern recording practices, authors and artists attempted to “capture” sound on the pages of novels, poems, and plays, as well as in visual media such as early political cartoons, paintings, and engravings. In turn, we will explore how technological and industrial developments have shaped the soundscape of modern life. Readings will include critical essays from recent work in the emergent field of “sound studies,” along with consideration of literary texts, visual media, and recordings that reflect on the histories and possibilities of sound. In addition to weekly responses and three longer critical essays, course activities will take us out of the classroom and invite you to listen to and think critically about the day-to-day soundscapes of campus life as well as attend concerts hosted by the conservatory.