English Department to Host 'Chaucer: Sound and Vision'

Posted on October 3, 2018
Alice Jackson

The University of South Alabama’s English department will host the conference “Chaucer: Sound and Vision” on Oct. 19-20, 2018 at the Faculty Club. The medieval literature conference on Chaucer and his contemporaries will focus on an emerging area of scholarship in the field: representations of the senses.

The two-day conference includes four sessions each day, with the plenary session on Friday featuring Dr. Michael Kuczynski, medieval scholar and chair of the English department at Tulane University. On Saturday, Kuczynski will also participate in a roundtable discussion on the state of sound studies.

Conference co-chair Dr. John Halbrooks said that although literature is often understood to represent the visual world, “sound studies looks at the way literature translates what we hear into the written word. These texts function as a sound recording technology for what was, at the time, primarily an oral medium.”

National participants at the conference will include scholars from Cornell University and the University of Iowa, as well as Dr. Jeffery Stoyanoff of Spring Hill College and five presenters from the University of South Alabama. Conference co-chair Dr. Becky McLaughlin said organizers expect to publish an edited collection of essays from the conference proceedings.

And the conference subtitle? It is a reference to the David Bowie song of the same name. Halbrooks said that, like Bowie, “Chaucer creates individualism through the gift of visual and sonic means.”

The public is welcome to attend the event. For more information, contact the English department.

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