Public Lecture “Listening with Adorno, Again”

April 25, 2016

Public Lecture “Listening with Adorno, Again”

public lecture

Date: 25 April 2016 (Monday)

Time: 2:30pm – 4:30pm

Venue: Lecture Theatre 5, Cheng Yu Tung Building, CUHK

Speaker:  Prof. James A. Steintrager (University of California, Irvine)

Chair: Prof. Pang Laikwan (CUHK)



Over the past several years there has been an upsurge in scholarly interest in sound, to the point that some have written of an “‘auditory turn’ in critical theory.” In the genealogy of what has come to be called variously “sound studies” or “auditory cultures”—the two terms indicating important points of methodological difference—names that were forgotten or overlooked, such as Pierre Schaeffer, have suddenly taken on a canonical status. And yet, Theodor Adorno, who wrote copiously on music, mediation, and society, has mainly been neglected within the so-called auditory turn. Adorno’s attacks on radio and jazz in particular seem passé and, indeed, classist from the point of view of postmodernism and the embrace of the popular in cultural studies. In this talk, I will examine what Adorno was up to in his critical typologies of listening and what might remain of relevance in his work for grasping our ever more distraction-driven entertainment economy and media ecology.


About Speaker

James A. Steintrager is Professor of English at the University of California, Irvine and currently Director of UCI Critical Theory. His recent publications include The Autonomy of Pleasure: Libertines, License, and Sexual Revolution (Columbia University Press, 2016) and a translation of and critical introduction to Michel Chion’s Sound: An Acoulogical Treatise (Duke University Press, 2016).


Conducted in English. All are welcome.

Registration is required by 23 April 2016.