10 Mar 2021 2:30pm - 4:30pm ONLINE SESSION (UK Time)


This is an online event hosted via Zoom. To attend please register.


Jenifer Chao (Associate Professor, De Montfort University)

Katharina Clausius (Professeure Adjointe, Université de Montréal)

Jairo Moreno (Associate Professor, University of Pennsylvania)



The work of Jacques Rancière has come to hold an increasingly central place in contemporary analyses of the relationship between politics and aesthetics. Though a major figure in visual culture, his ideas have arrived comparatively late within music and sound studies. Rancière’s overriding concern has been with radical democracy as a prolonged working out of the turmoil of 1968. Much of his work has revolved around an innovative extrapolation from his classic text The Nights of Labor: The Workers’ Dream in Nineteenth-Century France that offered a rereading of social emancipation not as a Marxist seizing control of the means of production, as Kristin Ross puts it, ‘but rather seizing the right to dead time, the right to think, the right to occupy the terrain the bourgeoisie had carefully preserved for itself: the terrain of aesthetic pleasure’.

This seminar will consider how Rancière’s theories might help us to reimagine the sonic through the relationship between politics and aesthetics. Alongside the speakers, we are delighted to welcome as respondents the editors of Rancière and Music (Edinburgh University Press, 2020), João Pedro Cachopo, Patrick Nickleson, and Chris Stover.


About the Speakers

Jenifer Chao specializes in global visual cultures, focusing on the mechanisms of visuality––its logic, techniques and power––embedded within international politics. These visualities are not bound by geography, neither are they restricted by genres; they encompass multiple geopolitical contexts and expressions: from the catastrophe aesthetic of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in America (a monograph) to Chinese contemporary art that is mobilized for nation branding (an AHRC grant); from the eco-cosmopolitanism of an art biennial on climate change to the visualization of race (articles). These are some of the projects that have steered her investigations into the visual practices of our contemporary culture. This approach unites several disciplines: contemporary art, media studies and international relations.

Katharina Clausius’s research focuses on the tangled relationships between music and other arts, and in particular how notions of history filter through different artistic media. Her interest in musical historicism has led to an eclectic range of interdisciplinary projects on the poetics of Enlightenment opera, aesthetics of influence in modernist art and music, and pedagogy in Jacques Rancière’s political philosophy. She serves on the board of the Mozart Society of America as Reviews Editor and member of the Membership Committee and has contributed articles to the ‘The Encyclopedia of Diderot and d’Alembert Collaborative Translation Project’ (ARTFL Online) as a volunteer translator.

Jairo Moreno's work in music theory addresses the production of knowledge of music and the sonic in modernity from a historic-speculative perspective. He has written a major study of the history of listening in early modern and modern music theory and analysis, Musical Representations, Subjects, and Objects (Indiana University Press, 2004). Syncopated Modernities: Musical Latin Americanisms in the U.S., 1978–2008 (forthcoming, U. of Chicago Press) presents an archival, critical, and ethnographic study of music’s precarious share in political practices during late capitalism. Most recently, he is conducting research and fieldwork with the Pankararu community of Brejo dos Padres (Brazil). A former professional bassist, he appeared in five Grammy Award nominated recordings with the late Latin and Jazz percussionist Ray Barretto, played in numerous other recordings, and performed chamber music with guitarist David Starobin and the Ciompi String Quartet.



An event organised by Auralities Research Network
Administrative assistance: networks@crassh.cam.ac.uk 

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