Co-sponsored by the Humanities Center, the Research Roundtable series in the Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) is designed to connect outside scholars who have used special collections with Syracuse University faculty and students having similar interests. In the course of a 90-minute discussion, a guest scholar describes the research project that he or she pursued at SCRC. The audience, led by a faculty moderator, comes to each roundtable discussion with questions that may help illuminate the guest scholar's work. The Research Roundtable sessions are held in SCRC's state-of-the-art Antje Bultmann Lemke Seminar Room or the Belfer Audio Archive Classroom, both locations provide technology-enhanced access to primary resource collection materials for groups of up to 20 people.
Friday, February 8, 2013 at 2:30 pm in the Belfer Audio Archive
Guest Speaker: William Brooks, Professor of Music at the University of York, England, and Emeritus Professor at the University of Illinois
Charles Ives’ song “He Is There” is a celebrated, and extreme, instance of quotation in music. By juxtaposing and overlaying a half dozen patriotic songs, he not only indicated his support for America’s entry into the Great War but also situated that entry historically, invoking specifically the Civil War as a precedent. But Ives was not alone. Among the thousands of war-related publications at the time are many hundreds issued by unknown musicians, commonly in small towns or cities, often self-published. A surprisingly high number of these use musical quotation to make their points—this in contrast to Tin Pan Alley composers, who used quotation much more sparingly. However, the emerging recording industry allied itself with Main Street USA, not with Tin Pan Alley: in a significant number of recorded songs, additional quotations are introduced, raising interesting questions about differences in audience, purpose, and aesthetics between the two industries.
This paper presents statistical and demographic information about these musicians’ use of quotation, based on an ongoing inventory of two important Midwestern collections of sheet music and an informal collection of about 250 recordings, offering close readings of several typical instances. The songs quoted, and the ways they are used, tell us something about the shared musical heritage of middle Americans and their efforts to reconcile themselves to the War. The evolution of this repertory over the eighteen months of American involvement parallels America’s changing moods, and its abrupt termination signals the country’s postwar shift of attention from international to domestic matters, from historical tradition to modernist innovations.
William Brooks is Professor of Music at the University of York, England, and Emeritus Professor at the University of Illinois. A scholar of American music for many years, he has published extensively on experimentalists like Charles Ives and John Cage and also on American popular culture of the early twentieth century. Current projects range from analytical studies of John Cage to analysis of the nature and role of the music in Fred Astaire films. Brooks is also a composer, and a preoccupation with quotation and reference in music links his creative work with his scholarship. Since 2009 Brooks has also been Senior Research Fellow at the Orpheus Centre for Research in Music, Ghent, Belgium.
Friday, September 28, 2012 in the Belfer Audio Archive
Guest Speaker: Gregory Goodale, Northeastern University
Can sound be read like words or images? Do ambulance sirens, coughs, and train whistles mean anything? Of course they do. And if they do, imagine the meaning of so many sounds we've not thought about. From the pause in Franklin Delano Roosevelt's "the only thing we have to fear is . . . fear itself" to the noise that Wile E. Coyote makes every time he falls off of a cliff, sounds matter. More importantly sounds can be read. During this discussion, we will listen to the sounds of presidents from the turn of the twentieth century, blues from the 1930s and political advertising from the present. We'll hear people screaming at each other in defense of their political opinions. And we'll wonder whether we all might become better citizens by learning how to read sound.
Dr. Greg Goodale is the 2011 winner of Northeastern University's Excellence-in-Teaching Award. He currently serves as one of eight Teaching Excellence Mentors, which means that he helps other Northeastern University instructors to become better at teaching through the Center for Innovation and Excellence in Teaching and Learning. Inspired by 14 teachers in his family and the extraordinary students he has taught at the University of Illinois and Northeastern University, he has recently completed his newest book, A Professor's Advice to his Students, which is being considered for publication.
Dr. Goodale is a graduate of George Mason University (BA and MA), the University of Virginia School of Law (JD), and the University of Illinois (PhD) where he performed research in Rhetoric and American History. A former lawyer, lobbyist, and congressional aide, he continues his interest in democracy and in particular how American citizenship intersects with race, gender, species and disability. As a public advocate (mostly for people with disabilities), Dr. Goodale brings his Washington, DC experience into the classroom and into his scholarship. That experience is now used to lead classes that advocate on behalf of foster children (Advocacy Workshop), victims of human trafficking and disabled children (Advocacy Writing) and at-risk girls (Public Speaking).
Dr. Goodale’s research lies at the intersection of three key themes in an emerging philosophy called Post-Humanism. This intersection undermines the dominance of vision as a way of organizing the world into categories and classes in favor of rethinking concepts like sex, race, species and ability. His books, Arguments About Animal Ethics and Sonic Persuasion: Reading Sound in the Recorded Age, and his journal articles like “Black and White: Vestiges of Biracialism in American Discourse” and “The Presidential Sound” are examples of Post-Humanist scholarship. Dr. Goodale has completed his next monograph, The Invention of “Man,” and has begun to work on a new book project tentatively titled “Against Truth.” His scholarship on sound has been quoted in political magazines like The New Republic and Influences l'officiel des idees and news radio programs
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Guest Scholar: Maarten van Gageldonk, Radboud University Nijmegen
Faculty Moderator: Jan Cohen-Cruz, Director of Imagining America
"The Changing Field of Periodical Studies: Grove Press and Evergreen Review as Transatlantic Cultural Mediators”
For the past several years, scholar Maarten van Gageldonk has visited Syracuse University Library’s Special Collections Research Center to conduct research in the records of the American publisher Grove Press and its in-house literary and cultural magazine, Evergreen Review. This November, SCRC will host a Research Roundtable for van Gageldonk to share his work with an intimate group of faculty and graduate students from across the humanities at Syracuse University.
One aspect of van Gageldonk’s project is to understand the role that Grove Press and Evergreen Review played in the introduction of the Theater of the Absurd to the United States. Born out of Cold War anxiety and strongly influenced by Existentialism in the 1950s and 1960s, authors such as Samuel Beckett, Eugène Ionesco, Harold Pinter, and Fernando Arrabal devised a new form of theater that discarded traditional theatrical approaches. These authors produced plays that were ambiguous, illogical, and that profoundly questioned the human predicament. As Ionesco put it at the time, for these authors, the absurd is “that which is devoid of purpose. When man is cut off from his religious, metaphysical, and transcendental roots he is lost; all his actions become senseless, useless, absurd.”
It is no coincidence, van Gageldonk tells us, that the Absurd playwrights appeared in the pages of Evergreen Review and had their plays published by Grove Press. Drawing upon SCRC’s archival holdings, van Gageldonk will highlight some of the cultural strategies Grove Press employed in introducing the Absurd playwrights to the United States. While previous scholarship on Grove has often focused on the various censorship court cases in which the publisher was embroiled in the early 1960s, van Gageldonk intends to stress a different side to the publisher that heretofore has received little attention: the influence Grove exerted on the postwar cultural field by introducing a wide variety of European avant-garde writers into the United States. What is more, van Gageldonk suggests that, by studying periodicals as cultural mediators rather than as passive barometers, we might further explore their role as active shapers of the cultural field. Thus van Gageldonk’s project not only sheds light on the role of Grove Press and Evergreen Review in bringing avant-garde European culture to postwar America; it also offers a new approach to understanding the complicated relationship between publishing houses and literary magazines during this period, as well as the role magazines play in our society.
On March 4, 2011, guest scholar Matthew Hedstrom spoke at the Research Roundtable.
Now an assistant professor of religious studies and American studies at the University of Virginia, Hedstrom held postdoctoral positions at the Center for the Study of Religion at Princeton University and in the Lilly Fellows Program at Valparaiso University. He received his Ph.D. and M.A. in American studies from the University of Texas at Austin and his B.A. in history from Haverford College. His main areas of teaching and research are religious liberalism, the cultures and politics of pluralism, religion and race, and print culture. Seeking a Spiritual Center: Books, Book Culture, and Liberal Religion in Modern America (Oxford University Press, 2011), his first book, offers new interpretations of the influence of religious liberalism on American culture in the twentieth century, and of the place of consumer culture and print media in shaping spirituality. The book traces the rise of religious middlebrow culture in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s through an examination of key texts, reader reception, transformations in publishing, and a variety of public reading programs, and relates these developments to the production and propagation of liberal religious sensibilities and practices in the twentieth century. This work draws on extensive research in archival collections around the country, including the Norman Vincent Peale and Frank Laubach collections at Syracuse.