Monthly Archives: October 2009

VoxTAP Events

Please see below for schedule updates and cancellations

VoxTAP Texts:

  • 11/16/09 : 3-5 : 126 Dwinnelle Annex, UC Berkeley :: Jonathan Sterne, “Enemy Voice,” Social Text 26 (2008): 79-100.
  • “Enemy Voice” Abstract: Since the invention of sound-transcription devices in the early nineteenth century, philosophers, linguists, inventors, audiences, and others have debated whether it is the meaningful act of speech or the material sound of the voice itself which defines the speaking subject in the person’s absence. Though this question has a long philosophical history, it took on a directly political and practical turn in the United States on 12 November 2002. On that day, Al Jazeera broadcast a tape purported to contain the voice of Osama bin Laden. Programs for political action hinged on a classic philosophical question: How could anyone know for certain if the voice on the tape belonged to bin Laden? This paper offers a political and philosophical analysis of debates surrounding the voice on the tape. It considers the circulation of the tape, the press coverage it received, the techniques of verification used (and not used) to determine the tape’s authenticity, and the relationship between bin Laden’s voice and his face in American political discourse. The debates around the tape demonstrated that the relationship between the voice and a speaking subject is not simply a matter for epistemology and ontology, but also a crucial matter of power. In order for a bin Laden tape to have its “effects” in politics, action, and debate, it need not be real or validated; it must simply be the subject of belief.

Alternative Embodiments: This event has been rescheduled due to illness.

  • RESCHEDULED : 126 Dwinnelle Annex, UC Berkeley :: Bay area singer Aurora Josephson leads a listening-in and notation workshop on extended vocal technique. A wonderful opportunity for artists, composers, and ethnographers.
  • RESCHEDULED : 170 Zellerbach, UC Berkeley :: Bay area singer Aurora Josephson leads a masterclass on extended vocal technique. No experience necessary. Open to the public but limited to 20 participants. Please register for this event by contacting Caitlin Marshall ( or Robert Beahrs ( This event is funded in collaboration with the Department of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies.

Writting Voice:

  • 12/03/09: Time and Location TBA :: The Writing Voice initiative is an opportunity for scholars and artists to workshop emergingĀ  projects. If you would like to submit an article, chapter, essay, script, transcript or score, etc. for peer review, commentary and discusison, please contact Caitlin Marshall ( or Robert Beahrs ( Submissions due by 11/23/09.

Speaker Series:

  • 12/10/09: 4-6 pm : 126 Dwinnelle Annex, UC Berkeley :: UCLA Assistant Professor in Musicology Nina Eidsheim presents her current work on voice and materiality.

VoxTAP Launches!

VoxTAP is an interdisciplinary confederation and forum for scholars, artists and professionals interested in and working on voice.

Based at the University of California, Berkeley and funded by the Townsend Center for Humanities, VoxTAP strives to bring the various discourses on voice into dialogue with one another, compare and learnĀ  tools and techniques for approaching voice, and examine the various political prerogatives that underpin our knowledge of and interventions in voice.

While current VoxTAP programming is supported on the Berkeley campus, the group aspires to build a collaborative network extending beyond these borders; we enthusiastically invite participants from all and any terrain. Here’s how you can get involved:

  • If you live in, near, or are visiting the Bay Area, please feel free to attend any VoxTAP event! Check the blog for programming listings and updates.
  • If you would like to participate remotely, you might consider skype-ing in to an event. (Please email the site administrator for details.)
  • Texts and sound clips to be discussed in monthly working group meetings will be posted online (with necessary permission). Members are encouraged to read and blog about these resources; group meeting notes will be circulated via the site as well.
  • Please contact the site administrator if you’d like your work–artistic or scholarly–to be discussed in the Writing Voice initiative. (More below).
  • All lectures and masterclass events that are part of the Speaker or Alternative Embodiment Series will be recorded and archived on, or linked to through this blog. Performances will be archived pending artist consent. Please contribute to the VoxTAP project by blogging or commenting on these events.
  • Contact the site administrator if you’d like to add links to work you find relevant!
  • Please keep the VoxTAP community updated on voice-related projects and performances. Ask questions, seek collaborators, and give your 2 cents.

Finally, while group chairs Robbie Beahrs and I (Caitlin Marshall) have been spearheading VoxTAP programming to date, we are excited to accomodate your interests and needs. Please contact the site administrator or post suggestions on group reading, artist and speaker invitations, and larger initiatives–such as conferences, retreats, or symposia; we look forward to your contributions!

Caitlin Marshall & Robert Beahrs