Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue
The Voice in Cultural Theory
BA Hons Degree or equivalent
This module is available as an elective
On completion of this module, students should be able to grasp the concept of 'voice' and understand its imbrication in philosophy and critical theory. They should understand Derrida's critique of western philosophical thought as 'phonocentric', and they should grasp the function of the oral/aural problematic in the Frankfurt School's critique of the politics of the culture. They should be able to use these theories to analyse acoustical events such as soundtracks, recordings, performances, etc.
In this module, the question of the voice will be traced through some of the critical debates around "aura" and "presence" begun in Frankfurt School critical theory and continued under the rubrics of structuralism and poststructuralism. These debates have been developed largely in relation to the image: the task will be to think through the acoustic and more particularly the vocal problematic. Readings will be situated in relation to two discursive practices in which the voice plays: music and film. The powerful metaphorical resonance of the voice, will also be attended to, insofar as it has become virtually synonymous with notions of selfhood and of democracy, matters which have been, and continue to be, of crucial importance for cultural studies. Readings from Bakhtin, Adorno, Benjamin, Derrida, Spivak, Taussig, Barthes, et.al..
Form of teaching
Seminars: 11 x 2 hours
Form of assessment
1 x 6000 word essay
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