- This event has passed.
CANCELLED: Research Colloquium: Dr Gavin Williams
June 18 @ 5:15 pm - 7:15 pmFree
Unfortunately we have had to cancel Dr Gavin Williams (King’s College London) Colloquia on ‘Musical Plasticity in the Age of Discs’
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 Jason Weir and Emma Kavanagh organise the series. Presentations are followed by discussion and a drinks reception. Students, staff, and the general public are warmly encouraged to attend.
Plastic dominates our political present, but its political history, especially in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, has been widely neglected. In the Anthropocene, historians have focused—for obvious and urgent reasons—on the flourishing of plastics after the Second World War. By contrast, in this talk I home in on plastics ca. 1900: an incubation period in which music-on-record played an important role. I home in on shellac, a “natural” plastic, which assembled rural labor in India, colonial forest science, biochemistry and largely Western demand—itself materially shaped by musical use in the gramophone industry. I thus seek out an historical relation between music-on-record and political economy, in which shellac took on a decisive role. Yet more broadly, I argue for plasticity as a useful concept for considering the political entanglements of music and sound in an age of ecological crisis.