musicologie   samedi 9 mars 2019.

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Sound and Secularity Symposium

April 12, 2019, New York
Stony Brook University, NY

Secularism is often understood as foundational for modern public life—a framework that allows people of different belief systems to politically and culturally engage one another. Yet secular studies (e.g. Talal Asad, Jürgen Habermas, Saba Mahmood) have questioned its conceptual and affective lacunae, its Western bias, and the forms of violence it enables. While scholars disagree on what might follow or replace secularism, attending to sound may offer new possibilities. Cornel West frames this as an imperative: "secular thinkers must become more religiously musical.”

“Sound and Secularity” is a day-long symposium at Stony Brook University on April 12, 2019 that will engage what it means to speak, sing, and listen when secularism falters as the dominant frame for modern religious and political life. Scholars from several disciplines—anthropology, music, history, and religion—will join Stony Brook faculty to discuss how secularity and religious faith shape conceptions of sound and the meanings we attach to them.


Janaki Bakhle (History, University of California–Berkeley)

Seth Brodsky (Music, University of Chicago)

Jeffers Engelhardt (Ethnomusicology, Amherst College)

Abigail Fine (Musicology, University of Hawai'i)

Charles Hirschkind (Anthropology, University of California–Berkeley)

Andrew Mall (Ethnomusicology, Northeastern University)

Oksana Nesterenko (Music History and Theory, Stony Brook University)

Lauren Osborne (Religion, Whitman College)

Shobana Shankar (History, Stony Brook University)

Braxton Shelley (Music, Harvard University)

“Sound and Secularity” is free and open to the public but space is limited. For more information and to register for the symposium, please visit.

Please direct questions to August Sheehy and Margarethe Adams: soundsecularity -at-


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