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Research

My primary research project, Vocality in Literature and Music, examines literature’s rhetorical representation of singers, opera’s intertextuality, and the remediation of voice in film and digital media. Drawing on deconstruction, videocentric critique, Lacanian psychoanalysis, and voice and media studies, the project investigates networks of vocality from early modernity onward. This work has been supported by fellowships from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and from the Schmeelk Foundation.

I have already published part of this research. An article on vocality in literary and musical intertextuality appeared in the Journal of Musicological Research. It examines the voice by way of media archaeology and through the European reception of Ossian in the long nineteenth century. I also published an article in the International Journal of Performance Art and Digital Media; it argues that the digital environments of contemporary scenography and opera foreground the voice as an object rather than a placeholder for speech. I am also revising an article that examines how figures of singers problematize literary historicity. These publications contribute to interdisciplinary debates on voice and raise the need for a reformulation of phonocentric criticism in order that it might apply to the digital remediation of historical works. I plan on publishing a book on this research in the near future.

At Utrecht University, I started a second research project on Posthumanist Vocality. Posthumanism borrows the concept of autopoiesis from systems theory in order to further deconstruct the human voice as sole producer of self-presence. Technological posthumanism investigates how media displaces both the self and presence, a displacement that the voice usually exemplifies.

Part of this research has already been published as well. For the Journal of Aesthetics and Culture, I wrote a comparative essay using discourse analysis and media archaeology as my methodology. It compares technological destiny in Robert Lepage’s digital scenography of Wagner’s Ring with Sean Michael’s novel Us Conductors. Articles on Xavier Dolan’s Mommy appeared in Synoptique and the European Journal of American Studies, where I discuss vocality as groundwork toward a queer contribution to posthumanism. A book chapter on “Posthumanist Voices in Literature and Opera” will appear in the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Sound and Imagination. In it, I discuss the staging of Mozart’s The Magic Flute in the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? with a focus on gendered vocal imitation. Its conclusion gestures toward my future research on literary and critical theory’s contribution to posthumanist deconstruction in Regieoper. In addition, I convened a panel on “Posthumanist Vocality” at the 2016 ACLA congress and am guest editing a special issue of The Opera Quarterly on “Vocal Embodiment and Remediation” (pub. in 2019-20). I plan on publishing a book on Posthumanist Vocality in the next few years.