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Fri, Mar 29, 2024
6:00 pm
- 7:00 pm

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Open to the public

Interspecies Communication cover

An event to mark the publication of Interspecies Communication: Sound and Music Beyond Humanity (University of Chicago Press)

Interspecies Communication cover

A surprising study reveals a plethora of attempts to communicate with non-humans in the modern era.  

In Interspecies Communication, music scholar Gavin Steingo examines significant cases of attempted communication beyond the human—cases in which the dualistic relationship of human to non-human is dramatically challenged. From singing whales to Sun Ra to searching for alien life, Steingo charts the many ways we have attempted to think about, and indeed to reach, beings that are very unlike ourselves.

Steingo focuses on the second half of the twentieth century, when scientists developed new ways of listening to oceans and cosmic space—two realms previously inaccessible to the senses and to empirical investigation. As quintessential frontiers of the postwar period, the outer space of the cosmos and the inner space of oceans were conceptualized as parallel realities, laid bare by newly technologized “ears.” Deeply engaging, Interspecies Communication explores our attempts to cross the border between the human and non-human, to connect with non-humans in the depths of the oceans, the far reaches of the universe, or right under our own noses.


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A surprising study reveals a plethora of attempts to communicate with non-humans in the modern era.  

In Interspecies Communication, music scholar Gavin Steingo examines significant cases of attempted communication beyond the human—cases in which the dualistic relationship of human to non-human is dramatically challenged. From singing whales to Sun Ra to searching for alien life, Steingo charts the many ways we have attempted to think about, and indeed to reach, beings that are very unlike ourselves.

Steingo focuses on the second half of the twentieth century, when scientists developed new ways of listening to oceans and cosmic space—two realms previously inaccessible to the senses and to empirical investigation. As quintessential frontiers of the postwar period, the outer space of the cosmos and the inner space of oceans were conceptualized as parallel realities, laid bare by newly technologized “ears.” Deeply engaging, Interspecies Communication explores our attempts to cross the border between the human and non-human, to connect with non-humans in the depths of the oceans, the far reaches of the universe, or right under our own noses.


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