Graduate Research Colloquium: Dr. Joseph Mason

Free to attend, those wishing to attend virtually should complete this sign-up form.

In the last twenty years, musicologists have increasingly documented and analysed the use of music as an instrument of violence, primarily during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. This paper offers a new perspective on the history of music and violence by analysing the intersection of these practices during the long thirteenth century. Definitions of and attitudes towards violence have changed greatly over time. By examining two songs from thirteenth-century France in detail, I show that music and violence were connected in unusual ways during the period, and that music's relation to violence was very different from modern configurations. This raises difficult questions about the nature of historical research, specifically the ethical responsibilities of scholars and the spectre of moral relativism.  

Joseph Mason is the Weston Junior Research Fellow in Music at New College. After completing his DPhil in Music at Lincoln College, Oxford in 2018, Joseph held a stipendiary lectureship for two years at New College. From 2019 to 2021 he was an Irish Research Council postdoctoral fellow at University College Dublin. Outside of work, Joseph enjoys singing and playing the organ and harpsichord.

Joseph's research centres on the music and culture of thirteenth-century France. He is especially interested in questions of musical meaning, and his work combines music analysis with historical work, critical theory, and manuscript studies. He is currently preparing a monograph on the intersections of music and violence during the period. Secondary interests include manuscript studies and the history of the book, digital humanities, and political music in the early twentieth century.

About the series:
The Colloquia feature leading figures, as well as younger scholars, from across the world. They present their research in papers on all kinds of music-related topics. Graduate students Chuyu Zhang and Eugenie Dalgleish organise the series. Presentations are followed by a discussion and drinks reception. If you would like more information, please email Chuyu Zhang.