Acoustemologies in Contact: Sounding Subjects and Modes of Listening in Early Modernity - cover image


Emily Wilbourne; Suzanne G. Cusick

Published On





  • English

Print Length

348 pages (x+338)


Paperback156 x 24 x 234 mm(6.14" x 0.95" x 9.21")
Hardback156 x 27 x 234 mm(6.14" x 1.06" x 9.21")


Paperback1458g (51.43oz)
Hardback1851g (65.29oz)



OCLC Number





  • AVX
  • AVA
  • HBLH


  • MUS051000
  • MUS007000
  • MUS020000


  • QC225.15


  • sound
  • identity
  • difference
  • subjectivity
  • early modernity
  • the body
  • Europe
  • musicology
  • cosmopolitanism
  • the canon
  • colonialism
  • empire
  • exploitation
  • decolonisation
  • race
  • slavery
  • global history
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Acoustemologies in Contact

Sounding Subjects and Modes of Listening in Early Modernity

  • Emily Wilbourne (editor)
  • Suzanne G. Cusick (editor)
In this fascinating collection of essays, an international group of scholars explores the sonic consequences of transcultural contact in the early modern period. They examine how cultural configurations of sound impacted communication, comprehension, and the categorisation of people. Addressing questions of identity, difference, sound, and subjectivity in global early modernity, these authors share the conviction that the body itself is the most intimate of contact zones, and that the culturally contingent systems by which sounds made sense could be foreign to early modern listeners and to present day scholars.

Drawing on a global range of archival evidence—from New France and New Spain, to the slave ships of the Middle Passage, to China, Europe, and the Mediterranean court environment—this collection challenges the privileged position of European acoustical practices within the discipline of global-historical musicology. The discussion of Black and non-European experiences demonstrates how the production of ‘the canon’ in the cosmopolitan centres of colonial empires was underpinned by processes of human exploitation and extraction of resources. As such, this text is a timely response to calls within the discipline to decolonise music history and to contextualise the canonical works of the European past.

This volume is accessible to a wide and interdisciplinary audience, not only within musicology, but also to those interested in early modern global history, sound studies, race, and slavery.


1. Listening as an Innu-French Contact Zone in the Jesuit Relations

(pp. 13–36)
  • Olivia Bloechl

2. Native Song and Dance Affect in Seventeenth-Century Christian Festivals in New Spain

(pp. 37–64)
  • Ireri E. Chávez Bárcenas

3. Performance in the Periphery: Colonial Encounters and Entertainments

(pp. 65–82)
  • Patricia Akhimie

4. ‘Hideous Acclamations’: Captive Colonists, Forced Singing, and the Incorporation Imperatives of Mohawk Listeners

(pp. 83–106)
  • Glenda Goodman

5. Black Atlantic Acoustemologies and the Maritime Archive

(pp. 107–134)
  • Danielle Skeehan

6. Little Black Giovanni’s Dream: Black Authorship and the ‘Turks, and Dwarves, the Bad Christians’ of the Medici Court

(pp. 135–166)
  • Emily Wilbourne

7. A Global Phonographic Revolution: Trans-Eurasian Resonances of Writing in Early Modern France and China

(pp. 167–200)
  • (Lester) S. Hu Zhuqing

8. ‘La stiava dolente in suono di canto’: War, Slavery, and Difference in a Medici Court EntertainmentThe Waltz among Slovenians

(pp. 201–238)
  • Suzanne G. Cusick

9. ‘Now Despised, a Servant, Abandoned’: Wounded Italy, the Moresca, and the Performance of Alterity

(pp. 239–264)
  • Nina Treadwell
  • Iva Niemčić

10. ‘Non basta il suono, e la voce’: Listening for Tasso’s Clorinda: Johann Strauss (the Elder) in Hamburg and Altona in 1836

(pp. 265–288)
  • Jane Tylus


(pp. 1–12)
  • Emily Wilbourne
  • Suzanne G. Cusick


Emily Wilbourne

Associate Professor of Musicology at Queens College and the Graduate Center at City University of New York

Suzanne G. Cusick

Professor of Music on the Faculty of Arts and Science at New York University