Veit Erlmann

Anatomy, Culture and the Politics of Subjectivity

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: sound, cultural history, politics of subjectivity, anatomy, medicine

One of the most common narratives about the origin of modern forms of subjectivity posits that from the early seventeenth century a new focus on vision and new visual technologies played a key role in the formation of the self-possessed individual. The emergence of sound studies has largely demonstrated that auditory perception was just as crucial in shaping modern concepts of subjectivity as vision. During the formative period of acoustics, anatomy and the physiology of hearing between the early seventeenth and early nineteenth centuries, even the most minute details acquired cultural significance, supporting divergent notions of subjecthood and social order. In particular, this paper is concerned with the different understanding of the nature and function of the basilar membrane.

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