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Gastvortrag von Martha Feldman, University of Chicago

Prof.in Martha Feldman hält am Montag, 10. Dezember 2018, um 18.00 Uhr, im Palais Meran, Zi. 24 den Gastvortrag "Castrato / Tans*: Thoughts from the Twenty-first Century.

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This talk starts from the premise that 21st-century discourses about the transgender phenomenon open up new ways to think about 18th-century castrati, even for those wary of a radically presentist notion of history. Without imagining that castrati shared present-day conceptions of trans*, I nevertheless argue, with early modern historian Katherine Crawford, that keeping the transgender paradigm in view can help shed new light on the ontology and even aesthetics of castrati. How might the transgender phenomenon, seen across centuries, inflect such varied antinomies as gender fixity vs. gender fluidity, vocal fixity vs. vocal fluidity, gender facts vs. gender “assignments,” patriarchal representations vs. liberatory ones of (Deleuzian) “becoming”? This talk seeks answers to these questions in the substantial differences that divide castrati from trans*, yet proposes that both castrato and trans* might be assimilated to what Fred Moten and Stefano Harney call “fugitivity.” Fugitivity is a category of the irregular that resists and escapes being named, classified, delimited, objectified, and dehumanized in ways that deny full personhood – a category that includes flight from such forms of subjection through strategies in which music and sound are often central. If trans* singers resemble castrati in their fugitive nature, they differ in that the representational tendencies and life choices of castrati leaned in a decidedly in a gender-normative direction, even when castrati made furtive attempts to circumvent or “correct” their fate. Considering the vocality of several trans* singers against that of castrati, my talk proposes that castrati and trans* part ways at the juncture of post-Fordist biopolitics, which forms an essential backdrop to 21st-century transitivity and involves us in radically new modes of body production. As trans* philosopher Paul Preciado stresses, the dimorphic views of the 19th century (which killed off the castrato), like the deterministic binaries of the mid-20th-century Fordist era (male/female, human/animal, nature/culture), have been challenged by transitivity, as aesthetics and performances of our time articulate the irreducible experiences of bodies and voices in new ways.

Prof.in Dr.in Martha Feldman is Mabel Greene Myers Professor of Music and the Humanities in the College an der University of Chicago, U.S.A.   is a cultural historian of European vernacular musics, ca. 1500-1950, with a concentration on Italy. Her projects have explored the senses and sensibilities of listeners, the interplay of myth, festivity, and kingship in opera, issues of cinema, media, and voice, and various incarnations of the musical artist.  She has been awarded countless national and international prizes for her research and publications, the latter of which include the books City Culture and the Madrigal at Venice, The Courtesan’s Arts: Cross-Cultural Perspectives, Opera and Sovereignty: Transforming Myths in Eighteenth-Century Italy, The Castrato: Reflections on Natures and Kinds.  She recently finished a term as president of the American Musicological Society.

Der Vortrag ist für "Musikwissenschaft aktuell" anrechenbar.