Animal Utterance: A Two-Day Interdisciplinary Conference at The University of Bristol

Date: Thursday 25th – Friday 26th May 2017

Day 1 (Thursday 25th May): Peel Lecture Theatre, School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol, University Road, Bristol BS8 1SS
Day 2 (Friday 26th May): The Orangery, Goldney Hall, Lower Clifton Hill, Bristol BS8 1BH

Contact: Francesca Mackenney <>

Two day, £90 standard, £60 concession
One day, £45 standard, £30 concession

In 1827 the poet, John Clare, exchanged a series of natural history letters with his publisher, James Hessey, in which they discussed the ‘solemn trifling’ of naturalists regarding the notes of the nightingale— whether the birds sang by night or by day, whether their notes expressed joy or melancholy.

This two-day interdisciplinary conference at the University of Bristol aims to bring together researchers to discuss and compare their approaches to the sounds of the animal world, both human and non-human. The conference seeks to draw together recent research in the Arts and Humanities, which has discussed the difficulties of ‘translating’ a non-human sound into human forms of signification—words, music, poetry—with recent scientific studies of communication and cognition in other species. The conference includes speakers from music and philosophy, literary criticism and cultural studies, cognitive neurobiology and linguistics.

Invited speakers: IAS Benjamin Meaker Visiting Professor David Rothenberg (Distinguished Professor of Music and Philosophy, New Jersey Institute of Technology), W. Tecumseh Fitch (Professor of Cognitive Biology, University of Vienna), Stephanie Kuduk Weiner (Professor of English, Wesleyan University), Johan J. Bolhuis (Professor of Cognitive Neurobiology, University of Cambridge), Daniel Karlin (Professor of English, University of Bristol), Martin Everaert (Professor of Linguistics, Utrecht University), Laura White (Professor of English, University of Nebraska-Lincoln).


For more information, see our conference website: