People

The CALLIOPE team currently consists of PI Josephine Hoegaerts, postdoctoral researchers Esha Sil and Karen Lauwers, doctoral student Ludovic Marionneau, and Fulbright Finland Foundation Fellow Liesl Yamaguchi for the 2020-2021 academic year. The administrative contact for CALLIOPE is project coordinator Monique Horstmann.

Associate Professor Josephine Hoegaerts is PI of the ERC Starting Grant Vocal Articulations of Parliamentary Identity and Empire.

Hoegaerts’ current research focuses on the aesthetics and politics of the voice in the long nineteenth century. Combining methodologies from history, sound studies and musicology, she traces the evolution of the ‘sound’ of propriety, authority and health as it was constructed by various experts on the voice and performed by public speakers in the nineteenth century.

Her wider research interests concern the practices of articulation and embodiment that created modern citizenship in the nineteenth century. Whilst her previous research elucidated aspects of the construction of the citizen self (i.e. masculinity, maturity, dignity, notions of authority and rationality), in her current research on the articulation of ‘vocalized’ identities within modern nations (notably in England, the Low Countries and France, and their respective colonies) the politics of location (including nationalized images of the artistic voice), and socio-cultural embeddedness (e.g. through vocal education for adult and younger non-professionals) come to the fore.

Karen Lauwers started in September 2019 as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Helsinki, working on the French-Algerian axis of the ERC funded CALLIOPE project. During her doctoral research, she was a member of “Power in History,” the Center for Political History at the University of Antwerp, where she completed her PhD titled “Negotiating the Republic. Direct interactions between unorganized citizens and MPs in France, ca.1900-1930s.” Moving her focus from Belgium to France, and from discourse in parliament to the perspectives on representation and citizenship held by people outside of political institutions, Karen Lauwers studied letters written by “ordinary” French citizens to four specific députés (MPs). For her contribution to the CALLIOPE project, she redirects her focus on political identities of the colonial subaltern, and more specifically on French-Algerian Arab Bureaus’ expectations of and experiences with Algerian forms of leadership and political identity, Algerian modes of public speech, political knowledge, and news circulation among the Muslim population (1846-1871).

Ludovic Marionneau is a doctoral student and junior project member of the ERC Starting Grant Vocal Articulations of Parliamentary Identity and Empire.

Merging methods from performance theory, musicology and history, Marionneau studies eloquence in the French Parliament during the long XIXth century. His research includes the examination of the norms associated with the voice in the French society at that time, the role the voice played on the cultural image of the representative, and its impact on political proceedings and individual careers.

Esha Sil is a postdoctoral researcher and fellow member of the ERC funded CALLIOPE project, ‘Vocal Articulations of Parliamentary Identity and Empire’. Responsible for the ‘London-Kolkata’ axis of the CALLIOPE framework, Esha examines the entangled cultural and intellectual histories, underpinning the discursive interplay between British and Bengali practices of public speaking in the 19th century. She accordingly deploys the acoustic agency of the human voice as a philosophical prism for exploring the material and affective articulations of political representation and citizenship in 'colonial' Bengal and 'imperial' Britain.

Esha’s work thus far has delved into the complex vernacular poetics of embodying a postcolonial South Asian life-world via the everyday language practices characteristic of Bengali modernity. To that end, her research has engaged with a wide range of subject areas from the talking pursuit of adda and the oral folkloric traditions of Bengali nursery rhymes and fairy tales to the polyvocal story spaces of the 1947 Partition and the uneven narrative paradigms of Bengal’s Marxist histories and global capitalist imaginaries.

Assistant Professor Liesl Yamaguchi (Romance Languages & Literatures, Boston College) is a Fulbright Finland Foundation Fellow and Visiting Researcher with CALLIOPE for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Yamaguchi’s current book project, The Colors of Vowels: Archaeology of a Metaphor investigates the emergence of linguistic synesthesia (i.e., hearing the vowel ‘A’ as ‘red’). First recorded in 1812, reports of vowels experienced as intrinsically tied to colors proliferated over the course of the nineteenth century, turning up in disciplines as disparate as medicine, music, acoustics, psychology, linguistics, and poetry. Reading these accounts by the light of one another, and with an eye to contemporary scientific research, Yamaguchi traces the migration of the idea of aural color from its ancient home, musical sound, to vowels, linguistic entities newly conceived in 1859 in terms of musical overtones. Combining historical, linguistic, and philological approaches, The Colors of Vowels elucidates the interplay between sensation and imagination, suggesting synesthesia’s enduring centrality to aesthetic experience.