Woodrow James Steinken

  • Graduate Student, Musicology

My research broadly focuses on the intersection of music, history, text, and performance. My dissertation examines theories of reality in Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen, primarily through the character Erda, who theorizes history, time, and psychoanalysis. I earned my MA at Pitt with a thesis titled “Music as Transgression: Masking and Sonic Abjection in Norwegian Black Metal,” which theorizes musical and bodily masking practices as license for criminal and societal transgressions in early 1990s Norwegian black metal, using Bataille’s and Kristeva’s theories of abjection. This work resulted in a publication in Metal Music Studies, titled “Norwegian Black Metal, Transgression, and Sonic Abjection.” I have presented on Norwegian, German, and U.S. black metal, Richard Strauss’s Elektra, Alban Berg’s Lyric Suite, and Wagner’s Ring at regional and national meetings of AMS, SAM, and the German Studies Association.