Over the past century and a half, the voices and bodies of animals have been used by scientists and music experts as a benchmark for measures of natural difference. Animal Musicalities traces music's taxonomies from Darwin to digital bird guides to show how animal song has become the starting point for enduring evaluations of species, races, and cultures. By examining the influential efforts made by a small group of men and women to define human diversity in relation to animal voices, this book raises profound questions about the creation of modern human identity, and the foundations of modern humanism.
1 Why Do Birds Sing? And Other Tales
IDENTITY, DIFFERENCE, KNOWLEDGE
2 Collecting Silence: The Sonic Specimen
3 Collecting Songs, Avian and African
4 Songs on the Dissecting Table
POSTMODERN HUMANITY, SUBJECTIVITY, AND PARADISE
5 Postmodern Humanity
6 Listening for Objectivity
7 The Rose Garden
Rachel Mundy is an assistant professor of music in the arts, culture, and media program at Rutgers University in Newark. She specializes in twentieth-century sonic culture with interests at the juncture of music, the history of science, and animal studies. Mundy's current work relocates contemporary posthumanism and critical philosophy as the refrain of a century-long encounter with changing boundaries between species, race, and culture.
"This imaginative book brings together musicology, science and technology studies, and animal studies in exciting ways that will be of interest to scholars in a variety disciplines."
– Jane Desmond, author of Displaying Death and Animating Life
"How deep are the connections between birdsong and human music? And why should we care? This fascinating and challenging book charts changing answers to these questions from the time of Darwin and Spencer to the present as it makes a compelling case for the study of culture in a more-than-human world."
– Gregory Radick, author of The Simian Tongue: The Long Debate About Animal Language