Over the past century and a half, the voices and bodies of animals have been used by scientists and music experts as a benchmark for measures of natural difference. Animal Musicalities traces music's taxonomies from Darwin to digital bird guides to show how animal song has become the starting point for enduring evaluations of species, races, and cultures. By examining the influential efforts made by a small group of men and women to define human diversity in relation to animal voices, this book raises profound questions about the creation of modern human identity, and the foundations of modern humanism.
RACHEL MUNDY is an assistant professor of music in the arts, culture, and media program at Rutgers University in Newark. She specializes in twentieth-century sonic culture with interests at the juncture of music, the history of science, and animal studies. Mundy's current work relocates contemporary posthumanism and critical philosophy as the refrain of a century-long encounter with changing boundaries between species, race, and culture.
Acknowledgements Introduction 1 Why Do Birds Sing? And Other Tales IDENTITY, DIFFERENCE, KNOWLEDGE 2 Collecting Silence: The Sonic Specimen 3 Collecting Songs, Avian and African 4 Songs on the Dissecting Table POSTMODERN HUMANITY, SUBJECTIVITY, AND PARADISE 5 Postmodern Humanity 6 Listening for Objectivity 7 The Rose Garden The Animanities Bibliography