Call for Paper Proposals - The Limits of Hearing: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives on Vocal Materiality and Expression

Recent humanistic and social scientific work has called attention to culturally specific meanings of the voice and emphasized the importance of treating the human sensorium in holistic terms. Responding to these research directions, this conference asks how we account for the voice in cases where its acoustic presence is compromised by specific physiological, sociocultural, and environmental contingencies. Voices before the age of recording, voices that have been damaged by illness or war, and voices whose audibility is inhibited by physical or cultural constraints, for example, demand a rethinking of the relationship between the voice and sound. Studies dealing with historical perspectives, the place of vocal practice in the construction of social difference, and empirical work on vocal pathologies that situates voice within a sociocultural context are especially welcome.

We plan to circulate papers in mid-February, and ask that all presenters read and prepare to offer feedback on the other contributions. During the conference, each participant will have ten minutes to present their research to the group, followed by a general discussion.

Proceedings of the conference will be submitted to a peer-review journal in the form of a special issue. Participants will be encouraged to revise their contributions based on feedback from the March event, and to submit a final text for publication by June 2014.

Please submit a 250-word abstract of your proposed presentation to no later than December 15, 2013.