Thursday, May 25, 2023 4:00 pm EDT
5051A MacAlister Hall
3250 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Alexandra Hui is an associate professor of history at Mississippi State University and coeditor of Isis, the journal of the History of Science Society. Her monograph, The Psychophysical Ear: Musical Experiments, Experimental Sounds, 1840-1910 (MIT Press, 2012}, several articles, and her coedited book, Testing hearing: The Making of Modern Aurality (Oxford University Press, 2020), focus on music, sound, and the laboratory. Her two current research projects examine the co-development of listening and background music technology and how scientists listen to the environment.
Sensing Against the Archive for Silence, Stillness, and Stuck-ness
Historians have much to learn from stopped time. Examining the sensation, perception, and documentation of stasis opens up categorical and ontological questions about how change is determined. Through a series of case studies of scholarlyand lay-understandings of silence, I reflect on the role of stillness in history. By focusing on actual sounds and listening practices, I offer a new approach to studying past human relationships with nature. Examining the sensation, perception, and documentation of silence in the archive opens up categorical and ontological questions about how change is determined. Through these case studies of scholarly- and lay-understandings of silence, I reflect on the role of silence, slowness, and stillness in history and where they can be found in the historical record, challenging the very practice of history.