2016 Darmstadt Summer Coursebook

An Emerging Feminist Reader

I know too well the feeling of showing up to a conference with hours of highly focused practical preparation for my presentation—in my case, solo practice, rehearsal, the technical business of working my instrument—only to discover that the tenor of the conference goes entirely over my head, with its leaders and speakers referencing essential  texts in a critical discipline that has little place in the practice room or rehearsal space.

This feeling is a small, private humiliation: I haven’t been responsible, I haven’t activated the critical nodes of the referential network, the knowledges I need to keep up are unavailable and unintelligible, the conference is winging away over my academic horizon, taking its referential network—perhaps the entire critical discourse—along with it.

In that vein, I have prepared for myself an open, growing list of sources that have come up in lectures, questions, pieces, and conversations. These are both a refresher for me on texts that I have already encountered, and a collection intended to be useful for my future reference. In other words, this works for me both as a refresher and as a reading list. I am sharing it as I collect and organize it in hopes that it will be helpful to practitioners like me, who wish to better understand and participate in extended critical dialogues at the 2016 Darmstadt Summer Course. 

I should provide a preliminary disclaimer for the collection. I have come to realize that the 2016 Darmstadt Summer Course is not a coherent document, as I had perhaps rather naively expected, but rather a bustling microecosystem, with concurrent strains of thought-life that perhaps coexist but certainly do not necessarily interact. The more people I meet, the more I realize that our experiential knowledges of this course have the potential to be extremely divergent.

Thus, the following sources are highly incomplete as a representation of the 2016 Summer Course in entirety: I mainly attend the lectures about feminist theory and the intimate processes of creation and The New Discipline, and I write down the references that I already understand or the names I already recognize, and then have conversations mainly with people with whom I already find affinity. I also have not been in full attendance, or even as active attendance as I would have liked (jet lag and lack of sleep left me dealing with a small but exhausting sickness during this first week). 

I have been lucky in the fact that the Darmstadt Summer Course has been, for me, a colorful interplay between my two primary strains of interest as a young reader and writer: on the one hand, the social nature of contemporary musicking practices and on the other, the current trends in so-called “feminist theory”, or more generally, academic critical theory that deals with the constellation of subjectivity, experientiality, and feeling.

For those readers who don’t yet know me and may wish to discern my bias on their own: I am currently 24 years old; white;raised in Indonesia and Alaska; speaker of English, Japanese, Italian, German, Thai, Bahasa Indonesia at widely varied levels of proficiency;  educated primarily in Alaskan public schools and then at Northwestern University in violin performance and linguistics with a focus on language philosophy, critical theory, and feminist theory; currently living in New York City to pursue my first masters’ degree in viola performance, in the process of applying for a PhD in musicology with an eye to produce work on social music cultures, community-oriented practices, and musical feelings, from Athapaskan fiddle festivals in my home culture to the much-needed expansion of the longitudinal community history of the Wandelweiser group. I also have deep interests in historical music theory, specifically the messy, century-long transition from the tripartite hexachordal system to binary major/minor modality, and sensory histories.

Here following are the sources I have found personally relevant in my contact with this festival, either in explicit mention in the courses or in conversation with friends. I also include a small number of sources not referenced over the past week that I have found myself thinking about nonetheless; again, this is highly incomplete and for my own use. There are also some YouTube lectures from other conferences that I have used for enrichment. 

At this point, I have not yet significantly included sources or work from featured conference speakers. I also have not held myself responsible for reproducing a good representative history of feminist texts. To my shock and dismay, I realize that this may be necessary: though many of the men and women here are sensitive, well-educated, and politically aware, a disappointingly large cohort in attendance either have not been exposed or have not paid attention to the rich history of feminist thought. They seem to have had their heads in the sand for the past few decades where these questions are concerned, and some of them seem not even to know what these questions are. This is another project for another, better-educated person: a cursory catch-up, an online anthology towards ~~feminism~~ (not just music by "female composers") for artists, composers, performers, music-makers. I hope a source like this exists already.

Please feel free to contribute sources! I consider this an open document and welcome submissions, to be asterisked and hyperlinked to your online presence by way of honoring your reference.  Also, my organizational system is designed for personal use and reference; I also welcome any recommendation for a better presentation.

As a final disclaimer, my understanding of copyright laws is deeply, irresponsibly incomplete, and my relationship to texts is greedy and reckless. Please do let me know if you notice any overstepping.

The Reader (mock-up)

Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities

Rhizomes, Issue 4, Cyberfeminisms. Composers might find Blair, Haas, and Heckman's "Cyborgian Voices" of particular interest. (rhizomes.net is a free online Deleuzian critical theory journal; the entire archive is available and well worth a glance)

Helene Cixous, Laugh of the Medusa (Eng. trans.)

Donna Haraway’s 2003 lecture at UC Berkeley, "From Cyborgs to Companion Species: Dogs, People, and Technoculture”, a reading of her work “Companion Species Manifesto”

Rebecca Solnit, “Men Explain Things to Me"

Timothy Morton, “Hyperobjects: Philosophy and Ecology After the End of the World

Karen Barad’s work in general: spec. "Post humanist Performativity: Toward an Understanding of How Matter Comes to Matter” “On Touching—The Inhuman That Therefore I Am”

Camille Paglia, “Sexual Personae

Jane Bennett: “Powers of the Hoard: Artistry and Agency in a World of Vibrant Matter” lecture at The New School, a sensitive approach to materiality

Kate Eichorn, “The Archival Turn in Feminism: Outrage in Order” (interview with Eichhorn here

Ann Cvetkovich, “An Archive of Feelings: Trauma, Sexuality, and Lesbian Public Cultures

Sianne Ngai, “Ugly Feelings”; "Our Aesthetic Categories: Zany, Cute, Interesting" (excerpt)

Rosalind Krauss, Sculpture in the Expanded Field

Steven Takasugi, Why Theater? or, A Series of Uninvited Guests

Deleuze, The Fold: Leibniz and the Baroque


Hexagram Laboratories in Montreal, QC, Canada

female:pressure's V I S I B I L I T Y blog: contributing images of women working in the technologies of music

GRID (Gender Relations in Darmstadt) Blog