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Humanities to the Rescue: “Sounds: Avant-Garde, Modernism, and Fascism” (part of the Kurt Weill Festival)

April 8, 2019 @ 8:30 am - 5:00 pm


A One-Day Symposium


Organized by: Laura Chiesa for the UB Humanities Institute’s Modernisms Research Workshop (co-coordinator Damien Keane), part of the Humanities Institute’s Humanities to the Rescue programming for 2018-19, which also includes “An Evening with Molly Crabapple” on Friday, March 8, 2019

The Humanities Institute’s Modernisms Research Workshop will participate in a series of events at UB celebrating composer Kurt Weill with a one-day symposium, free and open to the public. The point of departure for this symposium is the intersection of political upheaval, cultural criticism, and aesthetic experimentation, one specific to the first decades of the twentieth century but with undeniable echoes in today’s world.

In the spirit of the Modernisms Research Workshop, the symposium will explore music and sound, performance and spectatorship, in a variety of different geographical and national contexts, while seeking to foster interdisciplinary conversations across several fields of intellectual endeavor: literature, visual arts, architecture, dance, theater and stage design, film, and – most of all – music.

The symposium will feature guest speakers:

  • Kim Kowalke, Professor of Musicology at the Eastman School of Music and Professor of Music and Chair of the College Music Department of the University of Rochester
  • Jacques Lezra, Professor and Chair in the Department of Hispanic Studies at University of California – Riverside
  • Peter Szendy, David Herlihy Professor of Humanities and Comparative Literature at Brown University



Download the Program Overview (PDF).

8:30 am – 9:00 am | coffee and muffins

9:00 am – 9:15 am

  • Welcoming Remarks | Robin Schulze, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences

9:20 am – 9:50 |musical intermezzo

10:00 am – 10:45 am | Kim Kowalke, “What Makes Weill Weill?”

  • Introduction by Jonathan Golove, Chair, Music

10:45 am – 11:00 am | Coffee Break

11:00 am – 12:00 pm | Session I

  • James Currie, “Anesthesia of the Heart: Modernist Arts of Comic Indifference”
  • Damien Keane, “Intelligence Records”

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm | Lunch (provided)

1:00 pm – 1:45 pm | Peter Szendy, “Sonic Ordeals: Music, Torture, and The New Orpheus

  • Introduction by Laura Chiesa, Romance Languages and Literatures

1:45 pm – 2:15 pm | musical intermezzo

2:15pm – 3:15 pm | Session II

  • Fernanda Negrete, “Marguerite Duras’ Music: An Aesthetic Space For the Return of the Real”
  • William Solomon, “Walk on the Weill Side: Musical Theatre and Rock in the 1960s.”

3:15 pm – 3:30 pm | Coffee Break

3:30 pm – 4:15 pm | Jacques Lezra, “’[C]ounting your heads / As I’m making the beds’: Piratesthetics, Weill to Simone.”

  • Introduction by Justin Read, Chair, Romance Languages and Literatures

4:15 pm – 5:00 pm | Final Roundtable – Moderators Laura Chiesa and Krzysztof Ziarek


April 8, 2019
8:30 am - 5:00 pm
Event Categories:


Modernisms Research Workshop
Humanities Institute


250 Baird Hall