Meet the HISB 2019-2020 Faculty Fellows
Anne O'Byrne, Philosophy Department
Project: “The Genocidal Paradox: on Democracy and Generational Being”
This project investigates the relation between the structures of political existence—political selfhood, life, agency, public space, political institutions—and the formal structures of genocide. She seeks to examine the connection between the formal, existential structure of agency and selfhood and the formal structure of genocide to interrogate the structure and construction of the nation-state and the national citizen-subject, using challenges from contemporary political thinkers, philosophers, critical race theorists and queer theorists.
Zoom Lecture: “Democratic Violence and the Genocide Continuum”
Date: Wednesday, Sept 23, 2020 at 4:00pm - Click here to register
Despite their principled commitment to freedom and equality, democracies distribute violence unevenly in ways that are more apparent now than ever. Genocide, with all its hyperbolic force, has been reserved for designating instances of massive, lethal violence against particular sorts of groups, but there are forms of violence endemic to democratic life that are slow, oblique and quotidian in their operation but patently genocidal in their effects. Black Americans have charged genocide as long ago as 1951 and 1996, and as recently as 2016 and today. Invoking it now forces us to confront the genocidal structures that create people as marginal and disposable, and they in turn direct us to the paradoxes of a politics centered on the demos when we exist embedded in the generational life of genos.
Anne O’Byrne is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Stony Brook University. Her publications include, Natality and Finitude, editor (with Martin Shuster) of Logics of Genocide: the Structures of Violence and the Contemporary World, and editor (with Hugh Silverman) of Subjects and Simulations. Her translated volumes include, Being Singular Plural, Corpus II: Writings on Sexuality (with Robert Richardson) and Being Nude (translated with Carlie Anglemire). Her current project is a book-length study of kinship, taxonomy, and the failure of democracies to resist genocidal violence.
August Sheehy, Music Department
Project: “Sonata Politics”
This project examines how the leading theory of musical form in nineteenth-century Germany functioned as a mode of political engagement. Specifically, he examines how Adolf Bernhard Marx’s influential theory of “sonata form” functioned not only as music pedagogy, but also as a comprehensive means of enculturation (Bildung) drawn from his own experience as a Jewish-born assimilationist and advocate for representative government.
Zoom Lecture: "Liberal Fantasies, Musical Forms"
Date: Wednesday, Nov 18, 2020 at 4:00pm - Click here to register
Recent calls for humanities scholars to account for disciplinary complicity in unjust structures of power have left music theorists—whose concerns are generally formalist—at something of an impasse. Turning to the foundational work of nineteenth-century German-Jewish music critic and “founding father of the theory of form [Formenlehre],” Adolf Bernhard Marx, this talk proposes that the problematization of musical form itself responded to political exigencies—namely, those encapsulated in the so-called Jewish question that preoccupied the German political class in the years leading to 1848. This history prompts an attempt to reimagine a theory of musical form along the lines suggested by new formalists such as Caroline Levine and Anna Kornbluh.
August Sheehy is Assistant Professor of Music History and Theory. His research examines the relationship between music analysis and history, with a focus on German-speaking Europe between the French Revolution and World War II. He is currently working on a book, Sonata Politics: A. B. Marx, Beethoven, and the Fantasy of Form.of English and associated faculty in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and in Asian and Asian American Studies.
Heejeong Sohn, Asian and Asian American Studies Department
Project: “Korea through the Modern Image World, 1876-1910”
This project explores the history of the precolonial Korea through the angle of local image world. It unveils that the country’s modern visuality was constructed not only through the material medium of photography, maps, paintings, etc., but also in the non-material forms of rumors, gossips, and riots on and against them, even without the presence of an image at times. In doing so, it redefines the visual modernity of the precolonial Korea as a multilayered historical continuum.
Zoom Lecture: Modernities in Motion: Coincidental Rises of Nationalism and Vernacular Photography in Late Chosŏn Korea (1905-1910
Date: Wednesday, Oct 21, 2020 at 4:30pm - Click here to register
During the last few years of Chosŏn Korea before its annexation by Japan in 1910, photographs burst out in the public sphere, remediating text-dominant print media to transfuse sense of national crisis and nationhood among the Korean public. The talk examines the dynamics of intermediality between the visual and textual mediums, through which it argues for the rise of vernacular photography in Koreans’ making of an imagined modern state against the backdrop of dynastic fall.
Heejeong Sohn teaches and researches on modern Korea, as well as Korean language. She is currently working on a book project on the history of modern Korea through the window of the image world. She is also served as the Assistant Director for the Center for Korean Studies on campus since 2011.