New Materialist Approaches to Sound @ Music Department, Columbia U
Oct 19 – Oct 20 all-day

Scholars working under the broad umbrella of New Materialism have offered compelling reappraisals of the ways in which we know, interact with, and exist in the world. This scholarship also intersects with recent work on music and sound, which raises rich sets of questions regarding human agency, material, ethics, aesthetics, embodiment, and the subject/object dichotomy, among other issues.

We invite scholars working in the humanities, arts and sciences to submit proposals for papers and performances that engage with the themes of sound and new materialism, broadly construed.  We welcome work that adopts historical, technological, analytical, philosophical, materialist, and creative vantage points, among others. Overall, this conference will direct these diverse disciplinary and methodological perspectives towards convergent and critical issues, creating new, interdisciplinary lines of enquiry and generating original research.

The one-day conference will consist of panels that comprise of papers with short reflections by a moderator, as well as an evening concert that includes opportunities for discussion. The concluding concert of work that engages with these themes from creative perspectives will afford attendees with an opportunity to consider and discuss issues concerning sound, material, and agency in a forum that contrasts with, but also complements, our events during the day. Conference participants are strongly encouraged to attend both the daytime and evening portions of the conference.

Proposals are called for:

Paper presentations of 20 minutes with 10 minutes of Q&A.

Artistic presentation of 20 minutes with 10 minutes of discussion

Submission: Proposals of no more than 500 words (300 words for artistic presentation) should be submitted as a PDF by August 14th 2019 to jc5036@columbia.edu

and include “NMAS Submission” in the subject line. If you’re applying for an artistic presentation please include three representative 2 minute audio/video examples. Please also include the title of your proposed paper and anonymize your submission.  Include your name, affiliation, and contact information in the body of the email, and also nominate any audio/visual requirements for your paper or performance.


The Immortal Spirit in Classical Chinese Aesthetics. Paul Goldin (UPenn) @ Columbia University Religion Dept. 101
Dec 6 @ 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm

This will be the third (and, time permitting, some material from the fourth) of a series of lectures that I aim to write up formally as a book.  We will begin with a brief review of the most familiar theory of Chinese aesthetics: works of art are the products of sensitive human beings who cannot suppress their sincere responses to emotional stimuli.  If art is understood as a sincere statement of this kind by a great genius, it stands to reason that, by correctly interpreting the work, one can communicate with that genius’s mind (xin 心) even after his or her death–and, likewise, that an artist today can communicate with audiences yet unborn.  Art is thus timeless and offers the possibility of incorporeal immortality.  If there is extra time, I will also survey two interrelated phenomena that I call meta-criticism and meta-writing (since there are no technical terms for them in Chinese).  Meta-criticism, i.e. criticism of criticism, is a major feature of Chinese theories about art.  Meta-criticism must be related to meta-writing, or the practice of writing about writing while exemplifying the very styles and techniques that one recommends: for example, artfully rhyming a couplet about rhyming.

With responses from: SANDRA SHAPSHAY (Hunter College, CUNY)

The Fall dates for the Comparative Philosophy seminar:

September 20 – Justin Tiwald (San Francisco State University)
October 11 – Richard Kim (Loyola University, Chicago
November 8 – Sungmoon Kim (City University of Hong Kong)
December 6 – Paul R. Goldin (University of Pennsylvania)

More details (such as titles, abstracts, and respondents) to follow. Looking forward to seeing you soon.

Hagop Sarkissian
Associate Professor & Chair, Department of Philosophy, The City University of New York, Baruch College
Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, CUNY Graduate Center 
Co-Director, Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy