Cfp: More than meets the ear: sound & short fiction – University of Vienna, 19th-21st September 2019 – EXTENDED DEADLINE: 15 June

Sound is being celebrated as a source of insight in the humanities,  yet so far no study has been produced that focuses exclusively on sound in/and short, short short, very short and flash fiction. This ENSFR-affiliated conference aims to close that gap.

Sound is being celebrated as a source of insight in the humanities. Foregrounding the sense condemned to play second fiddle by Plato, scholars are tapping into sonic, auditive and aural phenomena and their technological reproduction, mapping practices of sound production, exploring soundscapes of different periods, compiling cultures and histories of hearing and listening. Some publications in this vibrant field focus on voice/s, others explore the theorisation, representation and political (re-) evaluation of noise/s or investigate how hearing may interact with vision, touch, taste and smell. Cultural theorists have been providing new concepts and (re-) conceptualizing old ones to facilitate critical takes on sound, the ear, auscultation and alternative forms of auditory perception, the invocatory drive, the vociferated object, the object voice, philosophies and practices of listening and acoustic territories. Volumes such as The Auditory Culture Reader (2003/2015), The Oxford Handbook of Sound Studies (2012) and, most recently, The Routledge Companion to Sound Studies (2018) testify to the continuing productivity of this field. Literary studies, too, have been making their contribution, analysing the representation of sound in texts as well as the sound of texts and contributing to the narratological vocabulary. Drama, poetry and the long narrative form have given rise to investigations of literary representation of sound on all levels, yet so far no study has been produced that focuses exclusively on short, short short, very short and flash fiction. As a first step towards closing this gap, this ENSFR-affiliated conference invites contributors to turn their attention to sound & short fiction. Who knows? Someone might even put the ‘tweet’ in twitterature…. Topics may include but are not limited to:

  • musical, mechanical, digital, natural sounds, tones, notes
  • voice/s of human or nonhuman origin
  • noise/s, cacophony, pandemonium
  • noise pollution and the Anthropocene
  • harmony
  • vibration, resonance
  • auscultation, aural perception, bone conduction, neuroprosthetic hearing
  • listening
  • sound as signal, warning, weapon
  • sound as enigma/riddle (delayed decoding)
  • acoustic spaces
  • echo, whispering gallery, auditory hallucination
  • media of sound recording
  • media of sound reproduction
  • sound & subject formation
  • sound in psychoanalysis
  • sound & desire
  • sound & affect
  • sound & emotion
  • sound & knowledge production
  • rhymes (sound as syntax)
  • sound & imagination
  • absence of sound
  • sound in dream spheres
  • sounds of the future/modernity/postmodernity
  • sounds of the past/history
  • metaphysical sound (the voice/s of God/angels/ghosts/the dead/demons)
  • imaginary/fictional musical instruments
  • material marks of sound
  • sounds of peace & sounds of war
  • the social (class) life of sound
  • sounds at work
  • sounds & food
  • sounds of death/dying
  • sounds of leisure
  • the cultural (codes, conventions,…) life of sound
  • gendered sound
  • deafness/Deafness
  • muteness
  • silence/silences/silencing
  • tinnitus and other phantom sounds
  • listening/not listening
  • sound & the other senses
  • synaesthesia
  • visualisations of sound
  • sound and madness/sanity
  • mechanical/non-mechanical transmission of sound
  • poetics of sound
  • sound & narratology
  • sound & genre

Keynote: 19th Sep, 6 pm

Confirmed Speaker: Dr. Jorge Sacido Romero (University of Santiago de Compostela)

Conference fee: 50 Euros / 30 Euros for PhD students

Conference dinner (cost covered): 20th Sep

Those interested in contributing should send 300-word abstracts for 20-minute papers in English by the 15th June 2019 to Michela Borzaga ( and Sylvia Mieszkowski (, and include short bio-bibliographical notes (approx. 100 words).

For practical and organisational information about More Than Meets the Ear please check from late November 2018 onwards:

For inspirational reading:


Attali, Jacques, Noise: The Political Economy of Music, Minneapolis &London: U of Minnesota P, 2003 [1985].

Bijsterveld, Karin, Cleophas, Eefje, Krebs, Stefan, Mom, Gijs, Sound and Safe: a History of Listening behind the Wheel, Oxford: Oxford UP, 2014.

Birdsall, Caroline, Nazi Soundscapes: Sound, Technology and Urban Space 1933-1945, Amsterdam: Amsterdam UP, 2012.

Bull, Michael and Back, Les (eds.), The Auditory Culture Reader, Oxford & New York: Berg Publishing, 2003, (2nd edition London & New York: Bloomsbury: 2015).

Cuddy-Keane, Melba, “Virginia Woolf, Sound Technologies and the New Aurality”, in: Canghie, Pamela L. (ed.), Virginia Woolf and the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, New York & London: Garland Publishing, 2000, 69-96.

Cuddy-Keane, Melba, “Modernist Soundscapes and the Intelligent Ear: An Approach to Narrative Through Auditory Perception, in: Phelon, James and Rabinowitz, Peter (eds.), A Companion to Narrative Theory, Oxford: Blackwell, 2005, 382-398.

Derrida, Jacques, The Ear of the Other: Otobiography, Transference, Translation, Lincoln & London: U of Nebraska P, 1985 [1982].

Derrida, Jacques, Die Stimme und das Phänomen, Frankfurt/Main: Suhrkamp, 2003 [1967].

Dolar, Mladen, A Voice and Nothing More, Cambridge/MA.: The MIT P, 2006.

Erlmann, Veit, Reason and Resonance: A History of Modern Aurality, New York: Zone Books, 2010.

Felderer, Brigitte, Phonorama: Eine Kulturgeschichte der Stimme als Medium, Berlin: Matthes & Seitz, 2004.

Folkerth, Wes, The Sound of Shakespeare, London & New York: Routledge, 2002.

Goodman, Steve, Sonic Warfare: Sound, Affect, and the Ecology of Fear, Cambridge/MA: The MIT Press, 2010.

Hendy, David, Noise: A Human History of Listening and Sound, London: Profile Books, 2013

Ihde, Don, Listening and Voice: Phenomenologies of Sound, Albany: State U of New York P, 2007.

Kahn, Douglas, Noise – Water – Meat: A History of Sound in the Arts, Cambridge/MA: The MIT P, 1999.

Keizer, Garrett, The Unwanted Sound of Everything We Want: A Book about Noise, New York: Public Affairs, 2010.

Kolesch, Doris, Krämer, Sybille (eds.), Stimme: Annäherung an ein Phänomen, Frankfurt/Main: Suhrkamp, 2006.

Labelle, Brandon, Acoustic Territories: Sound Culture and Everyday Life, London & New Delhi & New York & Sydney: Bloomsbury, 2010.

Labelle, Brandon, Sonic Agency: Sound and Emergent Forms of Resistance, London: Goldsmiths P, 2017.

Lacan, Jacques, Anxiety: The Seminar of Jacques Lacan Book X, ed. by Jacques-Alain Miller, Cambridge: polity, 2004.

Mieszkowski, Sylvia, Nieberle, Sigrid (eds.), Unlaute: Noise/Geräusch in Kultur, Medien und Wissenschaften seit 1900, Bielefeld: [transcript], 2017.

Mieszkowski, Sylvia, Resonant Alterities: Sound, Desire and Anxiety in Non-Realist Fiction, Bielefeld: [transcript], 2014.

Morris, Adelaide (ed.), sound states: innovative poetics and acoustical technologies, Chapel Hill & London: U of North Carolina P, 1997.

Nancy, Jean-Luc, Listening, New York: Fordham UP, 2007 [2002].

O’Callaghan, Casey, Sounds: a Philosophical Theory, Oxford: Oxford UP, 2007.

Ong, Walter, Orality and Literacy: The Technologizing of the World, London & New York: Routledge, 1990 [1982].

Picker, John M., Victorian Soundscapes, Oxford: Oxford UP, 2003.

Pinch, Trevor, Bijsterveld, Karin (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Sound Studies, Oxford: Oxford UP, 2012.

Ross, Alex, The Rest is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century, New York: Picador, 2007.

Sacido-Romero, Jorge, Mieszkowski, Sylvia (eds.), Sound Effects: The Object Voice in Fiction, Leiden: Brill|Rodopi, 2015.

Schafer, R. Murray, The Soundscape: Our Sonic Environment and the Tuning of the World, Rochester: Destiny Books, 1994 [1977].

Smith, Bruce R., The Acoustic World of Early Modern England: Attending to the O-Factor, U of Chicago P, 1999.

Smith, Mark M. (ed.), Hearing History: A Reader, Athens & London: The U of Georgia P, 2004.

Sterne, Jonathan, “Medicine’s Acoustic Culture: Mediate Auscultation, the Stethoscope and the ‘Autopsy’ of the Living”, in: Bull/Back (eds.), The Auditory Culture Reader, Oxford & New York: Berg Publishing, 2003, 191-217.

Sterne, Jonathan, The Audible Past: Cultural Origins of Sound Reproduction, Durham & London: Duke UP, 2003.

Sterne, Jonathan (ed.), The Sound Studies Reader, London & New York: Routledge, 2012.

Stewart, Garrett, Reading Voices: Literature and the Phonotext, Berkeley & LA & Oxford: U of California P, 1990.

Straumann, Barbara, Female Performers in British and American Fiction, Berlin & Boston: de Gruyter, 2018.


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