The workings of the corporeal and spiritual body were repeatedly reimagined in France between 1789 and 1848, as successive revolutions fundamentally transformed understandings of bodily autonomy and moral responsibility. Discourses in philosophy, aesthetics, and the sciences were strongly affected by these events, as the radical reconfiguration of the institutional landscape from 1789 onwards led to the emergence of Paris as an international center for modern science and medicine in the first half of the nineteenth century. At the same time, Paris also became a crucial locus of activity in the musical sphere, a city of innovative composers, virtuoso performers, and instrument designers as well as a rising culture of musical ‘dilettantes’
Understandings of the body, as shared between the musical and the scientific spheres, will lie at the heart of our exploration. The late eighteenth century saw various conceptions of the body set into flux, influenced by the writings of philosophers such as Rousseau and Diderot. In the domain of the medical sciences, Jean-Nicolas Corvisart and René Laënnec regarded the body as a site from which to develop new understandings of timbre and listening, while Xavier Bichat reinvigorated the Vitalist frameworks of sympathy and harmony in order to examine the relationship between various executive organs of the body. This period also saw the rise of new “moral” approaches toward insanity associated with Philippe Pinel, as well as the phrenological classifications of the Paris-based Franz Joseph Gall. The repercussions of these developments were directly felt in the musical realm, and played out on the operatic stage, in the soundscapes of Revolutionary festivals, and in theoretical, medical, and governmental inquiries into the relationships between music and human behavior.
This interdisciplinary workshop will examine the interaction between music, science, and medicine in Paris, as they were influenced by the reframing of the self in the aftermath of successive revolutionary upheavals. It will bring together scholars from the fields of musicology, performance studies, literature, and the history of science and medicine in order to explore historical and emerging contemporary perspectives on the body. On Saturday we will be holding a workshop for conference participants to discuss draft papers. We encourage interested scholars from Columbia and the New York area to join the conversation. Pre-registration is required (further details to come).
Friday, March 31: Conference
2:00-4:00pm: Nineteenth-Century Music and Science
John Tresch, "La Technaesthetique, or the Kick of the Cosmos"
Mark Pottinger, “Science, Madness, and the Sound of Disease in Donizetti's 'Lucia di Lammermoor' (Paris, 1837)”
David Trippett, “Sound and the Ultrasonic Imagination ca. 1876”
Chair: Lydia Goehr
4:30-6:30pm: Bodies Politic
Julia Doe, “On the Well-Being of Queen and Nation: Politics and Pastoral Fantasy at the Petit Trianon”
Rebecca Geoffroy-Schwinden, “Music and the French Body Politic in Festivals of the French Revolution”
Francesca Brittan, “Neology, Fantasy, and the Revolutionary Body Politic”
Chair: Elise Bonner
On Saturday we will be holding a workshop for conference participants to discuss draft papers. We encourage interested scholars from Columbia and the New York area to join the conversation. Pre-registration is required (further details to come).
Saturday, April 1st: Workshop
10-11: Isabelle Moindrot, “Musique et musiciens de la Grande armée. Traces et rémanences culturelles de quelques usages non artistiques de la musique”
Respondent: Annelies Andries
11-12: James Davies, “Creatures of the Air”
Respondent: Michael Weinstein-Reiman
12:30-1:30: Emmanuel Reibel, “La musique comme corps : la métaphore de la dissection dans la critique (1820-1850)”
Respondent: Arden Hegele
2:30-3:30: Céline Frigau Manning, “Opera and Hypnosis. Victor Maurel’s Experiments in Suggestion With Verdi’s Otello”
4-5: Carmel Raz, “Operatic Fantasies in Early 19th C. Psychiatry”