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Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaft


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Hearing Modernity: The Age of Noise in Great Britain and the United States


DozentIn: Priv. Doz. Dr. Sabine N. Meyer

Veranstaltungstyp: Seminar

Ort: 41/111

Zeiten: Di. 10:00 - 12:00 (wöchentlich)

Beschreibung: In his monograph Noise: The Political Economy of Music (1977), French economist Jacques Attali states that "the world is not for beholding" but "for hearing" and that "we must learn to judge a society more by its sounds." Taking a cue from Attali's claim, we will explore in this course the politics and poetics of sound in a variety of British and American literary and cultural texts (essays, short stories, novels, cartoons, film, newspaper editorials) from around the turn of the century up until the 1940s. More specifically, we will reflect upon how verbal and visual narratives written/produced in the wake of industrialization, urbanization, the development of new sound-reproduction technologies, and war can be approached through auditory perception. Our goal will be to develop both methods and an appropriate vocabulary with which to analyze the soundscapes negotiated in and developed by these texts and to reflect upon in how far sound is constitutive of a modernist aesthetics. Throughout the course, it will be our overall object to assess the centrality of sound, hearing, and listening to modern modes of knowledge, culture, and social organization as well as to the constitution of the modern self.
In order to take and enjoy this class, you should be willing to read extensively. Among the texts that we will discuss and that you should purchase and read—ideally before the course start— are:

Frank Norris, The Octopus (1901) (Penguin Classics, ISBN-10: 0140187707)
Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway (1925) (Penguin Modern Classics, ISBN-10: 0141182490)
Mary Bordon, The Forbidden Zone: A Nurse's Impressions of the First World War (1929) (Hesperus Modern Voices, ISBN-10: 1843914433)

This is an American Studies course and shares the requirements and guidelines with all other American Studies courses taught at the IfAA. The "American Studies Toolkit" in the Stud.IP "Documents" section outlines these requirements and guidelines. Please see the "Guidelines for Seminar Papers" for information on the formal requirements for the final paper and "How to Write a Draft Introduction" for the specific requirements for the draft introduction.


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