[Book] Silence – essays on culture, power and change

STILTE‘Silence’ is trending. Ever more people embrace silence as a way of escaping the pressures of daily life. Yet silence itself is not new; it has a long and sometimes painful history. This book tries to capture the many faces of silence as a historical phenomenon. Dealing with topics such as art, trauma, migration, politics and education it addresses the history, cultural diversity and cultural force of silence.

Pieter Verstraete is a lecturer in Historical Pedagogy in the department of Education, Culture and Society of the University of Louvain. He has authored many books, including In the Shadow of Disability and Verminkte stilte. He was awarded with the Disability History Association Outstanding Book Award for his book The Imperfect Historian.

Josephine Hoegaerts is a postdoctoral researcher in the research group ‘Modernity and Society 1750-2000’ at the University of Louvain and the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies. Her research focuses on the social history of the human voice in Western-Europe.

More information on the book can be found here.

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Call for Papers: Workshop Gender and Silence in Leuven

HUSHED (HI)STORIES OF POWER AND RESILIENCE IN THE FACE OF MODERNITY.

LEUVEN, 7 NOVEMBER 2014 9-16h
Abstract deadline: 1 July 2014

Key-note address: MARIE BUSCATTO (Univ. Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne)

Can silence articulate gender? It seems so insubstantial and eerie – the mere absence of sound. It is easy to forget that silence can consist of an active practice, which is being carried out consciously by numerous actors in the past as well as the present. Active silence has been enforced (“mulier taceat in ecclesia”), used as a means of protest (Turkey’s ‘standing man’s protests) and has been designated as an attribute of dignity or calm. In all those guises, active silence serves as a way to signal the non-speaker’s relation to power, and to underline the corporeal and performative nature of the distribution of (acoustic) authority: female silence in church signaled respect for religious discipline, the ‘standing man’ shows resilience in the face of violence, and dignified silence is a privilege reserved for adults.

This workshop aims to explore the ambiguous relation between practices of silence and gendered identities. Rather than assuming an association between voice and power, and silence and obedience, it seeks to encourage a nuanced analysis of the different ways in which silence has been mobilized or can be mobilized in shaping gendered bodies and behaviors. In teasing out hushed (hi)stories, participants are invited to focus on the perspective of the active non- speaker.

We welcome papers that address issues including (but not limited to) the following:

  • Gendered modes of contemplative silence (monastic or otherwise), discourses and practices of silence and gender in religion and devotion
  • Active silence in contexts of protest, and its gendered meanings and implications
  • Silence as protection (e.g. rapevictims, practices of ‘passing’)
  • Silence and compliance (enforced silence, institutional silence)
  • Representations of gender and silence in literature, art, theatre, (audiovisual) media…
  • Silence and gender in music

Abstracts and papers can be sent in Dutch, English or French. We require participants to hold their oral presentation in English during the workshop.

Interested participants can send an abstract of max.300 words and a short biographical outline by 1 July to josephine.hoegaerts@arts.kuleuven.be

More information in this pdf file

Sounds of Historical Amsterdam

Friday, 24 May, 13.30 – 17.00
Venue: Amsterdam Museum, Kalverstraat 92, entrance Kalverstraat 92
Sint Luciënsteeg 27.

HOW DO CITIES SOUND?K

A symposium organized around the installation ‘The Sound of Amsterdam’, now on show at the Amsterdam Museum

ROOM: HET GEWELF (buy your ticket at the central entrance)

THE SOUND INSTALLATION IS IN ROOM 17

PRICE
Museumticket :  € 10,-
UvA Studentenkaart  :  € 5,-
Museumjaarkaart        :  free

IF YOU WANT TO ATTEND THE SYMPOSIUM PLEASE REGISTER BELOW 

Clicke here if you want to hear this horse tram

K

Alex Rhys-Taylor

Sonic Boom – 100 Years of Urban Sound

The twentieth century city comprised a cascade of intertwined social, political, technological and economic revolutions, all of which combined to radically alter the sonic sensorium that filled the century’s cities. Automobiles, radios, planes, argot, sirens, industry. All of these displaced, or drowned out, the audible sensorium of millennia before. The great revolutions of the century are also reflected in the sensibilities through which urbanites made sense of the new urban symphonies and cacophonies. Starting with the hypnotic buzz of London as heard from afar, zooming in to the cacophonous soundscapes of the street, the talk will trace the provenance of both the soundscape of modern city, and the meanings we gave to it.

Alex Rhys-Taylor is a lecturer in sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London. One of his main interests is the multisensory ambience of everyday urban life. See: http://www.gold.ac.uk/sociology/staff/rhys-taylor/

Annelies Jacobs

Discourse and the Sounds of the City

Though we hardly know how cities sounded in the past, how sounds figured in daily life, we do believe that due to processes of expansion, industrialisation and technology cities grow noisier and noisier. It seems that the constant emergence of new sources of sound and a poor recall of sources lost, make us conclude that the past was more silent. In this lecture we ‘listen’ to changes in the discourse on sound, using texts from various periods. We will see that ideas about society and human beings inform our statements on silence increasing or decreasing, and the way we underpin these statements. Changes in the sounds and noises of city cannot be understood on the basis of material changes only.

Annelies Jacobs (1955) is a PhD student at the University of Maastricht. She is now completing her dissertation on the soundscape of Amsterdam between roughly 1880 and 1945, which provided most of the input to the installation now on show.

Arnoud Traa

Listening to the past? A sound designers’ perspective

Archival recordings allow listeners to feel like a time traveller. But to what extent are they actually able to listen to the past? How does the recording process of a sound (or the sound object itself) influence the perception of the age and meaning of sound? We will make a short trip through recording history by sound.

Arnoud Traa is a sound designer and composer with an interest in historical and vanished sound. He works in film, documentary and museums with diverse media. In 2012 he founded the website ‘Het Geluid van Nederland,’ an online crowd-sourced sound archive with recordings from 1955 to today. As a recordist of contemporary and historical sounds he contributed to the ‘Soundscapes of the Urban Past’ installation ‘De Dam,’ by the Amsterdam Museum and Maastricht University.

Rikko Voorberg and Marlous Willemsen

Sounds of belief

In a series of five events at Imagine IC young people collected sounds they see as meaningful to the way they experience their religion or spirituality. They collected this material as part of the project ‘My God’, in which present-day religion and its (new) practices were documented. See: www.imagineic.nl/cases/mijn-god.

Marlous Willemsen is the director of Imagine IC. Rikko Voorberg is ambassador of Imagine IC. Hij hosted the youth events on sound and religion, and is affiliated with the EO radio-program Denkstof

‘The Noise of the City Hits Me in the Face’: On Tangible Noise as a Source of Vexation, Knowledge and Experiment (1880-1940)

Piet Devos, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen

Since the end of the nineteenth century much has been written on the noise of big cities, on how one did not only hear it but also seemed to feel it bodily. It led novelists and scholars to a fascinating voyage of discovery through the borderland between hearing and touch. They discovered that the vibrations one could hear as tones and rhythm also touched the skin and other parts of the body. These vibrations proved to cause annoyance but also provided important information in one’s perception of the same urban space. We will have a look at the discussions on these multisensory vibrations in the city, profiting from contemporary novels and poetry, and from the writings of psychologists, among them Géza Révész, then teaching at the University of Amsterdam. These texts make us hear and feel an urban space which is still there in the present.

Piet Devos teaches literary studies at the University of Groningen, and is also a translator and essayist. He is completing his dissertation on sensory perception in avant-garde poetry of the avant-garde. His talk is part of a new research project on the impact of technology on touch.

To register please fill in this form:

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