“The Acoustic-Unconscious: Recovering Marshall McLuhan” – Seminar in Ethnomusicology & Sound Studies with Veit Erlmann


Although this seminar happened several days ago at the University of Oxford, I am posting it here because it underlines another academic area of influence that Marshall McLuhan has had, in this case, on sound studies, with his concept of  “acoustic space.”

Sounds Assembling by Bertram Brooker (1928)
Image from Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG)
Open to all  and admission is free 
Seminar in Ethnomusicology and Sound Studies

       “The Acoustic-Unconscious: Recovering Marshall McLuhan

Endowed Chair of Music History, Professor of Ethnomusicology and Anthropology, University of Texas at Austin 
   Thursday 22nd, May 2014 (TT Week4)  (17:00-18:30)   –   Ertegun House, St Giles, University of Oxford


Marshall McLuhan is considered to be a founding figure of sound studies, but he is also (in)famous for his techno-determinism, Orientalism and, most importantly, oral/literate dichotomy. By contrast, his concept of “acoustic space” is often overlooked. Erlmann argues that it is time to revisit McLuhan’s contribution to early sound studies and to examine the place of “acoustic space” in his theory of media. In so doing he hopes to broaden the current debate about sound on the edge or the “unsound” to what Erlmann calls the “acoustic-unconscious.” An short excerpt of McLuhan being interviewed in 1967 can be watched below. (Source: http://tinyurl.com/pk6flzp )

Biography (follow the above link to see the complete biography)
Veit Erlmann holds the Endowed Chair of Music History at the University of Texas. He studied musicology, sociology, anthropology and philosophy in Berlin and Cologne, where he obtained a Dr.phil. in 1978 and did a Habilitation in musicology in 1989 and in anthropology in 1994. As an ethnographer he has done fieldwork in Morocco (1972), Cameroon (1975-1976), Niger (1979), South Africa (1982-1987), Lesotho (1982), Ecuador (1987), and Ghana (1989).  Currently he is working on a book on intellectual property in the South African music industry that will be published by Duke University Press. In addition to his ethnographic work he also retains a strong interest in musicology, cultural studies and cultural history, primarily in relation to Europe.

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