James Q. Davies

Visiting Scholar (Jun 2019)

PhD, Henry and Julia Weisman Schutt Chair in Music Associate Professor, University of California, Berkeley, USA

James Q. Davies is Associate Professor of Music at UC Berkeley and holder of the Henry and Julia Weisman Schutt Chair in Music. He is author of Romantic Anatomies of Performance (2014), editor of Sound Knowledge: Music and Science in London, 1789–1851 (2016), and editor of the book series New Material Histories of Music with University of Chicago Press.

I am a historian of practice and an anthropologist of knowledge about sound and music. My first book addresses political anatomies, that is, geographically diffused techniques of music-making, in the nineteenth century, tracing the role played by cultural techniques in the political cultivation of bodies. Drawing on genealogies of physiology and the health sciences via standard pedagogical treatises, the book recounts the biopolitical formation of expressive hands and voices, historicizing ideas about expression, creativity, and reproduction. My current book project borrows from medical topography and colonial theory to document the anthropogenic placement of political ecologies. Creatures of the Air, 1817–1913 attends to sonic orderings of environment: ideas about breath control, ideas about air-conditioning systems in buildings, and ideas about music and climate.



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A Political Ecology of Sound Insulation


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