McGill Alert / Alerte de McGill

Updated: Fri, 07/12/2024 - 12:16

McGill Alert. The downtown campus will remain partially closed through the evening of Monday, July 15. See the Campus Safety site for details.

Alerte de McGill. Le campus du centre-ville restera partiellement fermé jusqu’au lundi 15 juillet, en soirée. Complément d’information : Direction de la protection et de la prévention

AHCS Speaker Series 2021-22

The lecture series would like to thank the Dean of Arts Development Fund at McGill and a generous anonymous donor for contributing to the series.

Unless otherwise noted, the events will take place on Zoom.

To subscribe to the AHCS Events mailing list, please contact: graduate.ahcs [at]

Fall 2021

October 28th

PhD Careers Beyond the University: A Roundtable

Lalai Manjikian, Instructor, Vanier College, Owen Martin, Director and Chief Curator, Norval Foundation, Emily Raine, Lead Copywriter, Unity Technologies, Tamar Tembeck, Artistic Director, OBORO

Winter 2022

March 10

Jessica Thompson

Sonic Borderlines: An Intersectional Approach to Listening Through Data

March 10, 4 - 5:30 p.m. EST

The talk will be held over Zoom and is followed by a Q&A session.


Abstract: Borderline is a mobile research-creation tool that uses sound to identify and annotate the invisible boundaries that affect social and economic mobility in urban spaces. Using algorithms trained to identify ~100 common sounds, the project enables users to map sounds in their environment and place them in dialogue with other forms of urban data. The recordings gathered through the app play back whenever you return to them, creating a generative soundtrack of sonic events. In her talk, Thompson will discuss how cities reveal themselves through sound, how interpretations of sound are closely aligned with systems of power, and how intersectional listening, critical mapmaking and distributed technologies can improve our understanding of socioeconomic inequality.

Bio: Jessica Thompson is an Associate Professor of Hybrid Media at the University of Waterloo, where she teaches in the Department of Fine Arts and the Stratford School of Interaction Design and Business. Her artistic research investigates the ways that sound reveals spatial and social conditions within cities, and how the creative use of urban data can generate new modes of citizen engagement. She has been a practicing media artist since 1999 and her interactive artworks have shown at venues such as the International Symposium of Electronic Art (San Jose, Dubai, Vancouver), the Conflux Festival (New York), Thinking Metropolis (Copenhagen), Beyond/In Western New York (Buffalo), NIME (Oslo), Artists’ Walks (New York), Locus Sonus (Aix-en-Provence), the AGW Triennial (Windsor), InterACTION (Kitchener), HASTAC (Vancouver), Re:Sound (Aalborg), and Entorno Encuentro Exploración (Pamplona). She has received grants from the Ontario Arts Council, the Toronto Arts Council, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and the Government of Ontario.

April 14

Virtual Book Launch for Chriscinda Henry's Playful Pictures: Art, Leisure, and Entertainment in the Venetian Renaissance Home

April 14, 4 - 5:30 p.m.

Join us for a virtual book launch for Chriscinda Henry’s Playful Pictures: Art, Leisure, and Entertainment in the Venetian Renaissance Home. The launch will open with a brief introduction by Chriscinda, a discussion with art historian Tracy Cooper, and conclude with an open Q&A period. The event will take place on Zoom.


“In Playful Pictures, Chriscinda Henry explores the rise of private art col­lection in Renaissance Venice as a diporto, or pastime, practiced within a kaleidoscopic matrix of domestic leisure that encompassed the recitation of poetry and tales, games, music making, amateur theatrical activity, and the conversational arts.” – Penn State University Press

Learn more about Playful Pictures at the Penn State University Press website. Use code NR22 to save 30%.

Chriscinda Henry’s research focuses on the multisensory relationship between art, music, recreation, and festivity in the Renaissance. Her book Playful Pictures: Painting, Leisure, and Entertainment in the Venetian Renaissance Home (Penn State University Press, 2022), explores the origins of private art collecting in Venice through the intersections between visual art, literature, music, and theater in different key spaces of the domestic sphere. Together with musicologist Tim Shephard, Henry also recently completed editing the interdisciplinary volume Music and Visual Culture in Renaissance Italy, forthcoming from Routledge in 2022.

Tracy E. Cooper specializes in Venetian and early modern cultural history and theory, with particular interests in architecture and urbanism, space and circulation, and patronage and collecting studies. As a member of the board of directors for Save Venice, Inc. she is actively involved in conservation efforts and director of the research track for a new program, Women Artists of Venice. She is best known for her award-winning book, Palladio’s Venice: Architecture and Society in a Renaissance Republic [Yale University Press], which has had major interdisciplinary impact and been widely reviewed since publishing.

April 21

Virtual Book Launch for Jonathan Sterne’s Diminished Faculties: A Political Phenomenology of Impairment

April 21, 4 - 5:30 p.m.

Join us for a virtual book launch for Jonathan Sterne’s Diminished Faculties: A Political Phenomenology of Impairment. The launch will open with a brief introduction by Jonathan, a discussion with Michele Friedner, and conclude with a virtual toast (BYO, sorry!) and an open Q&A period. CART captioning in English will be provided.


“In Diminished Faculties Jonathan Sterne offers a sweeping cultural study and theorization of impairment. Drawing on his personal history with thyroid cancer and a paralyzed vocal cord, Sterne undertakes a political phenomenology of impairment in which experience is understood from the standpoint of a subject that is not fully able to account for itself. He conceives of impairment as a fundamental dimension of human experience, examining it as both political and physical. While some impairments are enshrined as normal in international standards, others are treated as causes or effects of illness or disability. Alongside his fractured account of experience, Sterne provides a tour of alternative vocal technologies and practices; a study of “normal” hearing loss as a cultural practice rather than a medical problem; and an intertwined history and phenomenology of fatigue that follows the concept as it careens from people to materials science to industrial management to spoons. Sterne demonstrates how impairment is a problem, opportunity, and occasion for approaching larger questions about disability, subjectivity, power, technology, and experience in new ways. Diminished Faculties ends with a practical user’s guide to impairment theory.” – Duke University Press

Learn more about Diminished Faculties at the Duke University Press website. Use coupon code E21STERN to save 30% on the paperback when you order from

Jonathan Sterne teaches in the Department of Art History and Communication Studies at McGill University. He is author of Diminished Faculties: A Political Phenomenology of Impairment (Duke, 2021); MP3: The Meaning of a Format (Duke 2012), The Audible Past: Cultural Origins of Sound Reproduction (Duke, 2003); and numerous articles on media, technologies and the politics of culture. He currently working on a project about artificial intelligence and the politics of culture. And with co-author Mara Mills, he is writing Tuning Time: Histories of Sound and Speed. Visit his website at

Michele Friedner is an associate professor in the department of Comparative Human Development at the University of Chicago. Her research explores deaf and disabled experiences in India and her forthcoming book Sensory Futures: Deafness and Cochlear Implant Infrastructures in India analyzes the ways that cochlear implants, as normalizing technologies, result in the constriction of sensory, modal, and relational possibilities for deaf children and those with whom they interact.

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