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JOB VACANCY: Research Associate (Sound and Materialism in the 19th Century)

last modified Feb 04, 2019 09:12 AM

The Faculty of Music is seeking a Postdoctoral Research Fellow to work with Dr David Trippett on the ERC-funded project 'Sound and Materialism in the 19th Century'.

The project aims to enlarge substantially our understanding of the dialogue between 19th-century music and natural science. It examines in particular how a scientific-materialist conception of sound was formed alongside a dominant culture of romantic idealism. Placing itself at the intersection of historical musicology and the history and philosophy of science, the project will investigate the view that sound, for a time the cherished mantle of idealist metaphysics, was also regarded by writers, composers, scientists and engineers as tangible, material and subject to physical laws; that scientific thinking was not anathema but at key moments intrinsic to music aesthetics and criticism; that philosophies of mind and theories of the creative process also drew on mechanical rules of causality and associative 'laws'; and that the technological innovations brought about by scientific research from steam trains to stethoscopes were accompanied by new concepts and new ways of listening that radically impacted the sound world of composers, critics, and performers.

With a Ph.D. in Musicology (or related field) or in the History and Philosophy of Science, applicants will be experienced in writing articles, reports, and/or other material suitable for scholarly publication, and in giving papers at academic seminars and conferences. They will be able to manage and organize a wide range of activities and exercise judgment regarding time-management and prioritizing and organizing of workload. They will be highly attentive to detail but also capable of grasping and resolving sophisticated conceptual problems relevant to this project. They will be able to work independently to tight deadlines and will be able to communicate effectively with a wide range of individuals, including the project team.

It is hoped that an appointment will be made within one of the following subfields:

  • machines and mechanism;
  • technologies for sound.

In conjunction with the research team and with access to research funds, appointees will be expected to work within these broad subfields towards relevant research publications and conference participation. Interviews will be held on 22 June 2018.

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available until 31 August 2019 in the first instance.

To apply online for this vacancy, please click here. This will route you to the University's Web Recruitment System, where you will need to register an account (if you have not already) and log in before completing the online application form.

Informal enquiries should be directed to Dr David Trippett,