Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Beardsworth, Sara


Our contemporary culture is the product of enlightenment movements that have produced a discursive mode that favors skepticism, abstraction, and a mistrust of the body. This crisis of meaning has produced subjects that have lost the capacity for convincing symbolic exchanges. This project aims to reveal the vital importance of the imaginary for our possibilities of community, culture, and connectedness. I will use the work of Julia Kristeva to explain how we benefit from a symbolic that is supported by a robust and dynamic imaginary that springs from our embodied life. My thesis is that the foundation of the imaginary is best conceived as acoustical rather than visual. The contemporary experience that best recovers these representational capacities is found in our making, hearing, and sharing music. The current crisis of meaning can be ameliorated and subjectivity can be restored when aesthetic experiences and artistic practices rehabilitate the semiotic body as a source of meaning.




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