comparative literature DEPARTMENT CALENDAR

All Day
The heroic Argonauts were about to die, as the Sirens used their mind-controlling song to lure the adventurers into their clutches. On this occasion, the real hero would be a thin-limbed poet, Orpheus, who played his lyre and sang a counter-song that cancelled out the Siren's deadly sound. Cut to today and a similar refrain echoes in Beats Electronics’ “Hear What You Want” advertising campaign, in which heroic athletes’ noise-canceling headphones protect them from the vitriol of doubters and haters. Tracing a new historical path through both literature and technology, Mack Hagood analyzes the desire for "sonic self-control” and the “orphic media” that have answered and repurposed this desire over the past six decades. Orphic media give users the freedom to remain heroically unaffected in the competitive and distracting spaces of contemporary capitalism but also reveal how racial, gendered, ableist, and class ideologies shape our desire to “hear what we want." In a noisy world of haters, trolls, and information overload, guarded listening can be a necessity for self-care, but our efforts to shield ourselves can also decrease our tolerance for sonic and social difference—as “sensitive listening” becomes a defining political issue of our time.
12:00pm - 2:00pm
UU W324