East Asian Languages and Civilizations

The Voice as Something More:

Essays toward Materiality

University of Chicago Press, 2019  


In The Voice as Something More, cultural historians Martha Feldman and Judith Zeitlin curate a selection of essays that “reflect on the role of technology in mediating the voice and framing it as an ‘object’ available for study.” Growing out of the interdisciplinary Voices project at the University of Chicago, this volume addresses the “vocal turn” in the humanities and contributes a new materialist direction to this area of inquiry. As the authors argue, “Materiality admits of no easy boundaries, yet in its substantive guise it nevertheless erects a lithic, obdurate counterweight to the psychoanalytic voice as it’s usually evoked.” 


The book has an accompanying website that features all of the audio and video examples discussed in the book that can be found here.

“This is one of those rare volumes that amply delivers on the promise of interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary inquiry. It revolves around Mladen Dolar’s groundbreaking book but orients that orbital axis toward problems of materiality and cultural and historical difference. A richly informative and theoretically brilliant collection, The Voice as Something More inaugurates a new, more vibrant and dialogic era in voice studies.”
 Kerim Yasar,
University of Southern California

Martha Feldman is the Mabel Greene Myers Professor of Music, Romance Languages and Literatures, and Theater and Performance Studies at the University of Chicago, author of the award-winning books City Culture and the Madrigal at Venice (University of California Press, 1995), Opera and Sovereignty: Transforming Myths in Eighteenth-Century Italy (University of Chicago Press, 2007), and The Castrato: Reflections on Natures and Kinds (University of California Press, 2015), and the coedited The Courtesan’s Arts: Cross-Cultural Perspectives (Oxford, 2006). Her current work explores racialized and trans* voices and includes an experimental book-in-progress The Castrato Phantom that maps the aftermath of the castrato phenomenon in 20th-century Rome. She is an associate producer on Patricia Barber’s albums Smash (Concord Records, 2013) and Higher (ArtistShare, 2019). 

Judith T. Zeitlin is William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Chinese Literature in the Department of East Asian Languages & Civilizations and the Committee on Theater and Performance Studies at the University of Chicago. She received her PhD from Harvard in 1988 and taught on the faculty of Cornell and Harvard before moving to Chicago in 1994. Her work combines literary history of the Ming-Qing period with other disciplines, particularly visual and material culture, music and performance, as well as gender studies, medicine and film.