Humanities Center Short-term Fellow Susan McClary will give a lecture titled “Evidence of Things Not Seen: History, Subjectivities, Music: Critical Musicological Reflections.” The lecture will incorporate responses by Nancy Condee (Global Studies), Kathryn Flannery (English), and Andrew Weintraub (Music).
Susan McClary (Harvard PhD, 1976, Professor of Music at Case Western University) teaches courses in music history, music theory, and early-music performance practices. Her research focuses on the cultural criticism of music, both the European canon and contemporary popular genres. In contrast with an aesthetic tradition that treats music as ineffable and transcendent, her work engages with the signifying dimensions of musical procedures and deals with this elusive medium as a set of social practices. She is best known for her book Feminine Endings: Music, Gender, and Sexuality (1991), which examines cultural constructions of gender, sexuality, and the body in various musical repertories, ranging from early seventeenth-century opera to the songs of Madonna.
McClary is also author of Conventional Wisdom: The Content of Musical Form (2000), Georges Bizet: Carmen (1992), and coeditor with Richard Leppert of Music and Society: The Politics of Composition, Performance and Reception (1987). In her more recent publications, she explores the many ways in which subjectivities have been construed in music from the sixteenth-century onward. Modal Subjectivities: Renaissance Self-Fashioning in the Italian Madrigal (2004) won the Otto Kinkeldey Prize from the American Musicological Society in 2005. A collection of her most influential essays was commissioned from Ashgate with the title Reading Music: Selected Essays by Susan McClary (2007). Two additional books — Structures of Feeling in Seventeenth-Century Expressive Culture and Desire and Pleasure in Seventeenth-Century Music — will appear in 2012.