Workshops & Seminars

The identity of the UChicago graduate environment has historically been associated strongly with its renowned research workshops in the humanities and social sciences. Sponsored by the Council on Advanced Studies, the workshops aim to bring together faculty and graduate students both from the University of Chicago and the wider Chicago area to create scholarly dialogue and foster the exchange of ideas. Approximately seventy workshops are currently taking place on campus, ranging across a wide spectrum of interests and disciplines, many with interdisciplinary aims, including performance studies, cultural studies, political science, Latin American, American and European history, and art and politics of East Asia.


Sponsored by the Department of Music and run by ethnomusicology PhD student Hannah Rogers, EthNoise! is an interdisciplinary forum for graduate students, faculty, and guests to share and discuss ongoing research projects. Our mission is to foster dialogue about recent research at the intersection of music, language, and culture. While music is the thread uniting all of our speakers’ work, their research methods vary and include ethnography, archival analysis, and methods from disciplines including music, history, anthropology, sociology, and more. The workshop is open to the public and meets in Goodspeed 205 on Thursdays from 5:00-6:20 unless announced otherwise.

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20th and 21st Century Workshop

The 20th and 21st Century Workshop (C20/21) provides a space for graduate students and faculty members across the humanities to present and discuss work in progress that engages aesthetic and cultural objects produced in the 20th and 21st centuries, as well as their associated contexts, reception, and theoretical problems.  Although the workshop is open to a variety of disciplinary approaches, it is primarily organized around conceptual questions specific to this historical period, including: the instability of categories like “high” and “low” culture, modernism’s lives and afterlives, the effects of changing media technologies, and 20th/21st century histories of race, class, gender, ability, and sexuality. The workshop meets on Mondays from noon-1:20 p.m., on even-number weeks during academic quarters.

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Sound and Society Workshop

The Sound and Society Workshop provides an interdisciplinary forum for graduate students, faculty, and other scholars to explore how sound mediates, intensifies, and undermines the relationships between people. As an antidote to visual-centric scholarship, the Sound and Society Workshop aims to foster scholarly conversations about the complex roles played by sound. It can function as a vehicle for pleasure (like an orchestra performing a Beethoven symphony), but it can also signify resistance (like the collective chant of protest), violence (like the oppressive propaganda transmitted over radios of Nazi Germany), or sanctuary (like the noise‐blocking aspirations of headphone culture). Either way, sound denotes power, and as a workshop, we work to understand the manifold ways that music and sound are deeply intertwined with history, people, and society. More information on the workshop, including a schedule and contact information, can be found on its website.

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Composition Seminar

The composition seminar is a weekly session designed for graduate students in composition. It is an open forum for composers to listen to recent music, including their own, and to discuss issues connected with trends, aesthetics, and compositional techniques. The entire composition faculty takes part in these sessions. The seminar often hosts well-known visiting composers whose works are performed in the city by various groups or ensembles, as well as performers specializing in new music and contemporary techniques.

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