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Art and Music Histories Colloquium: Dismantling the Panopticon Ear

May 5, 2021 at 10:00am11:00am EDT

Virtual (See event details)

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The Department of Art and Music Histories in the College of Arts and Sciences is pleased to welcome Nina Eidsheim professor of musicology at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music. Nina is also the Founder & Director of the Practice-based Experimental Epistemology (PEER Lab).

About the Talk

In the United States, listening pedagogy has been formed within a particular point of privilege – whiteness – and underpins every relationship, both personal and institutional. For instance, listening pedagogy within an opera company is aimed at singers through all the other roles an opera company fills. As directors, C.E.O.s, presidents of the board, conductors and so on, these candidates serve as the institution’s ear, amplifying a certain kind of listening across all nodes of a large and complex institution. Listening pedagogy then teaches and normalizes, for singers and audiences alike, a listening invested in whiteness. A listening pedagogy that is invested in whiteness takes the sound of a particular voice as a given, and it conceives of the voice as a closed system. That is, it believes that the sound the voice makes is the essential sound of a person. This listening serves to confirm the listener’s attitudes and values, just as the panopticon preserves a particular power relationship. But by considering the voice’s materiality and performativity, Nina proposes to turn the skill of the panopticon ear—an internalized listening stance we all possess without necessarily knowing we have it—from an instrument invested in whiteness to a sharpened antiracist tool.

This event was first published on April 8, 2021 and last updated on April 9, 2021.

Event Details