Dr. Jaqueline Wylde
“Hearing the Metrical Psalms : Digital Imaginings of Past Soundscapes”
Dr. Alice O’Driscoll
“Unwall this Private Tenement: Searching for Sexual Violence During the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, 1639–1653”
January 26, 4:00PM – 5:30PM
Victoria University Common Room
89 Charles St. W.
The Early Modern Interdisciplinary Graduate Forum 2022-2023 will be hosted as a hybrid event, with our speakers presenting in person at University of Toronto. Our goal is to encourage early modern scholars to return to meeting in person, socialize, network, and become part of the early modern community in the Greater Toronto Area. Coffee and light snacks will be provided for all EMIGF events this year. For those who cannot attend in person, we will also make the event accessible on Zoom.
Online via Zoom: Register for online access to this event
Dr. Jaqueline Wylde: "Hearing the Metrical Psalms : Digital Imaginings of Past Soundscapes"
PhD, University of Toronto; SSHRC Postdoc Fellow, St. Francis Xavier University; CRRS Fellow
For this talk, I will discuss a digital project that seeks to musically imagine the English metrical psalms not as a stable body of liturgical music, but as an organic, varied, and essential element of the early modern soundscape. Far from being simplistic markers of religious piety, we know that the meaning of the psalms was in flux as the psalms migrated through place, time, community, and from one singing body to another. The changes in psalmic meaning were not usually charted through musical notation but can be discerned through what historical acoustemologists call ‘earwitnessing’ : references in literature and on the stage, descriptions in contemporary writings and memoirs, liturgical observations and parish records. These textual clues tell a story of a popular musical form on the move, as they morph between being songs of radical protest, to staid songs of the established religion, to songs affiliated with workplaces, to objects of Puritan-related mockery. A digital project allows for reimagined sound to coexist with text-based information, but such a project evokes so many questions: How would these changes in meaning sound over time and space, and how would their sound both reflect and contribute to their cultural meaning? What kind of reimagined recordings can we make to investigate, interrogate or aurally animate these shifts? What digital and structural organization would best illustrate the relationship between space and time, texts (both archival and literary) and imagined sound of the metrical psalms, in a way that is scholarly, yet playful, imaginary and even participatory? What are the possibilities and limits inherent in acts of digital historical recreation, recontextualization, and reanimation?
Dr. Alice O'Driscoll: "'Unwall this private tenement': searching for sexual violence during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, 1639-1653"
PhD, University of Cambridge, UK
In 1643, commissioners collecting testimonies of violence suffered during the Irish rebellion reflected upon the ‘rare mention of rapes’ in the depositions they had heard. From their perspective, the lack of reports was not evidence of absence. Rather, they acknowledged that sexual crimes ‘have commonly no witnesses’, and victims had little incentive to disclose their experiences. The ‘complaint’ of ‘the miserable sufferer’ would often ‘procure no redress or revenge’, but could injure the woman’s own reputation.
Assuming rape was underreported, how can the scant evidence of sexual atrocities be supplemented? This paper proposes two complementary pathways for further investigation.
The first pathway involves expanding the definitional bounds of sexual violence to incorporate sexualised activities like stripping, hair pulling, and mutilation. Accounts of such offences abound in surviving records, and their careful, contextual reading suggest more severe attacks left unwritten.
The second pathway involves expanding the evidentiary base, to include literature, poetry, and ephemera. In 1645, a Church of England minister described the ‘ravishing’ of Exeter after the city’s besiegement and capture by Royalist forces. Extolling the virtues of the city’s citizens – their resilience and steadfast loyalty to Parliament – he claimed that Exeter, ‘though it be now ravished by strangers, may truely be said to have kept her virgin-honour… because shee cryed out for help, though no man came to her rescue’. Accounts of siege warfare are rich with descriptions that acknowledge conceptual likeness between besiegement of a body politic, and rape of a body individual. What relationship could be inferred between real and representational?