In 2015, we find ourselves in a renaissance of the human voice: audiobooks; Internet radio; online education; podcasting; Skype. Technology has made it simple and inexpensive to capture the voice and share it across divides of community, class, and continent. The University of Alabama Voxology strives to tap into that energy and apply it to the study and appreciation of reading. Today, when people read they often do so silently and privately. However, silent reading is a modern phenomenon: up until the 16th century, people most often read aloud, both in groups and by themselves. The sound of the words was an integral part of the experience of reading. Given the recent renaissance of the human voice, this experience has returned to literature once more.
It is easier than ever to disseminate words and ideas expressed through the human voice. And of course, it is common practice in the literature classroom for teachers to read texts aloud and to ask students to do the same. However, there is little conversation in English departments about the skill it takes to read such literature aloud or about how the voice can influence our perspectives on literature. The UA Voxology seeks to address this gap, to begin to teach the voice in the literature classroom by compiling an audio anthology of local voices reading from classic American and British literature and by encouraging students and community members to contribute to that anthology. We envision an interactive hub for such content, similar to Pandora or Spotify, that situates new recordings within a larger whole and encourages listeners to browse and immerse themselves in the collection, creating their own recordings and adding their own voices. The UA Voxology will act both as a resource for the classroom and as another way the University can reach out to engage the larger community.
Our long-term goal is to create a high quality audio database of English and American Literature that students and teachers can use to experience and study how the human voice affects our experience of literature. Recordings will be provided by students, faculty, and community members, and all the resources of the site will be publicly available. Recordings will be located on soundcloud.com and archived at this site, voxology.as.ua.edu.
This project is supported by the Alabama Digital Humanities Center.
Submissions Editors: Alexandra Ferretti, Nicholas Helms
Archivists: Alissa Matheny, Kate Matheny
ADHC support: Muzel Chen, Emma Wilson
Social Media Consultant: Jacob Crawford
For more information on the project, please contact nrhelms_at_crimson.ua.edu.