Vanessa Agnew

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Vanessa Agnew

  • Affiliation(s)
    • Museum Studies
    • Interdisciplinary Music Forum, Reenactment History Group
  • Fields of Study
    • Enlightenment, music, travel writing, historical reenactment, colonialism, history of science
  • About

    Vanessa Agnew does research on Enlightenment music discourse, postcolonial theory, historical reenactment, and the history of science. Her teaching includes courses on the history of science [view class blog], German opera and writings about music, travel writing, and eighteenth-century racial discourse. Vanessa has held research fellowships at the Musikwissenschaftliches Seminar, Humboldt-Universität and the Forschungszentrum Europäische Aufklärung, the Centre for Cross-Cultural Research and the Humanities Research Centre at the Australian National University, the National Maritime Museum, and the Graduiertenkolleg 'Reiseliteratur und Kulturanthropologie' at the Universität Paderborn.

    Vanessa was a participant consultant in the BBC2/History Channel series The Ship, which retraced Cook's 1768 voyage to the South Seas. She is coeditor of a new series on historical reenactment. Settler and Creole Reenactment, coedited with Jonathan Lamb, has just appeared with Palgrave Macmillan. Link to Review This volume of essays deals with historical reenactments undertaken by settlers and creoles, people who belong partly to the land in which they now live, and partly to a place that is only remembered as home. The volume shows how historical reenactments negotiate this bifurcated relation to the past by helping to forge an imagined community with people whose claims on the land are immemorial. At the same time, the volume examines the kinds of shifts and interruptions in historical perspective that are necessary to make this a credible history of change and memory. Does history become more like a fiction? And is fiction a useful and necessary addition to history, or not? For more about the volume, go to:

    Vanessa's award-winning monograph, Enlightenment Orpheus: The Power of Music in Other Worlds (Oxford University Press, 2008), is a study of Anglo-German debates about the power of music (ca.1760-1810). Focusing on Charles Burney's German journey, the book traces the central role of travel and cross-cultural encounters in transforming musical thought. For more about the book, click here.

  • Education
    • Ph.D., European Studies, University of Wales, Cardiff
  • Awards
    • Lewis Lockwood Award (2009)
    • Kenshur Book Prize for Eighteenth-Century Studies (2009)
    • Dr. Theo and Waltraud Michael Fellowship in Musicology, Alexander-von-Humboldt Foundation (2007)