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Postcolonial Polyphony. Edward Said’s Work on Music. Supervisors: Julia Kursell and Barbara Titus | 8 September 13:00 hrs | Agnietenkapel.

Event details of Dissertation Defense: Wouter Capitain
Date 8 September 2021
Time 13:00

In my dissertation I analyze the intersections between music and postcolonial criticism in the work of the cultural critic Edward Said (1935-2003). I argue that music variously informs and confronts his influential work on postcolonialism, thereby demonstrating the capacity of music to interfere in other disciplines and domains. More specifically, I argue that in his work, music challenges the predominance of text as the primary frame of reference for academic knowledge formation. 

In my study I move beyond the consideration of Said’s prominent publications and also analyze his unpublished texts, preserved in the Edward W. Said Papers at Columbia University in New York. Based on archival research in 2018, I regard his texts as dynamic and multivocal performances that act in and upon their worldly circumstances. While I argue that Said’s work epitomizes such multivocality, I also want to suggest that any historical document contains alternative voices that are (to paraphrase Said) dominated and silenced by the textuality of text.