search the archive
search the archive
America and the Musical Unconscious [deadline extended]
full name / name of organization:
LMU Munich / University of Cologne
Music is clearly one of the most important components of American culture, and of postmodernity generally. People are listening to music all the time; it’s a new spatial form they are surrounded with, and I wish I could write about that and music generally.”
When, in 1981, Fredric Jameson forged a new method to analyze cultural texts and objects in terms of what he called “the political unconscious” he focused largely on the political implications of literary artifacts from the realist and modernist periods of especially European descent, to his own regret omitting musical forms of cultural expression. In the thirty-odd years since then, music has doubtlessly gained even more importance in American culture (and American music globally). While the field of American Studies has acknowledged and followed this development in various ways, it nevertheless mostly privileges textual and visual forms of art and thereby often neglects the unique qualities of music with regard to central paradigmatic concerns in the humanities such as space, the body, affect, or cognition. This conference seeks to adjust this imbalance by placing music center stage in American Studies. In doing so, it takes its cue from Jameson and proffers the “musical unconscious” as a general framework of analysis that highlights the convergence of the three dimensions of the individual musical text, the social context, and the technological conditions of possibility or mode of production.
- What is the relationship between American studies and musicology?
The conference takes place from May 30-31, 2014 at Junior Year in Munich and is co-organized by the American studies departments of the University of Cologne and Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich, in cooperation with Junior Year in Munich. It is open to the public; there is no conference fee.