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Dr. Jessica Wiskus

Associate Professor of Music and Chair of Musicianship
Mary Pappert School of Music
Musicianship

School of Music 105
Phone: 412.396.6074

Education:

D.M.A., Yale University, 2006
M.M.A., Yale University, 2001
M.M., Yale University, 2000
B.M., University of Iowa, 1998
Bio

Dr. Jessica Wiskus teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in music theory and history as well as the philosophy of music, including courses cross-listed with the Department of Philosophy.

Drawing upon 20th century continental philosophy, her research is interdisciplinary in nature and seeks to elucidate musical expression as a form of philosophical thinking. She writes on musical style, form, and performance within the context of close readings of particular philosophers, articulating the musicality beneath their thought. Her book, The Rhythm of Thought: Art, Literature and Music after Merleau-Ponty (University of Chicago Press, 2013), interprets the work of French phenomenologist Maurice Merleau-Ponty, developing "rhythm" as a philosophical notion through the analysis of works by Mallarmé, Cézanne, Proust, and Debussy. In addition to writing several book chapters on Merleau-Ponty and music for collections ranging from general music aesthetics (Perspectives de l'esthétique musicale, entre théorie et histoire) to specialized volumes in contemporary philosophy (Chiasmatic Encounters), she has published articles in The Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology, Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy, Philosophy Today, Chiasmi International: Trilingual Studies Concerning the Thought of Merleau-Ponty, and Angelaki: Journal of the Theoretical Humanities, among others. She is a frequent presenter in the United States and Europe, having delivered papers, for example, at conferences of the Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy, American Philosophical Association, International Merleau-Ponty Circle, Society for 17th-Century Music and the British Society for Phenomenology, Nordic Society for Phenomenology, and Dublin International Conference on Music Analysis. In recognition of her work, she received the Rockefeller Prize from the American Philosophical Association in 2006, a Camargo Foundation Fellowship (Cassis, France) in 2008, and several grants from Duquesne University (most recently in 2012).

She received her Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Yale University. As a horn player, she has received prizes from the Coleman Chamber Music Competition, the International Horn Society, and Artists International, whose organization sponsored her chamber program in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. Her current academic research program draws upon this professional experience, focusing upon the phenomenology of music as a means of exploring the intersection between music performance and the philosophical tradition. 


Publications

Book


  • Wiskus, Jessica. The Rhythm of Thought: Art, Literature and Music after Merleau-Ponty. The University of Chicago Press (2013). 
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    Selected Book Chapters & Articles


  • Wiskus, Jessica. "Listening for the Voice of the Light: Mythical Time through the Musical Idea." Book chapter in The Barbarian Principle: Merleau-Ponty, Schelling and the Question of Nature, ed. Jason Wirth & Patrick Burke. Albany: State University of New York Press (2013) 287-306.
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  • Wiskus, Jessica. "Inhabited Time: Hearing Sibelius within the Chiasm." Book chapter in Chiasmatic Encounters, ed. Kuisma Korhonen, Arto Haapala, Sara Heinämaa and Kristian Klockars. New York: Lexington Books (forthcoming 2013).
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  • Wiskus, Jessica. "Merleau-Ponty through Mallarmé and Debussy: On Silence, Rhythm, and Expression." Article in The Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology, Vol. 43, No. 3 (2012) 230-249.
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  • Wiskus, Jessica. "'The Universality of the Sensible': On Plato and the Musical Idea according to Merleau-Ponty." Article in Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy, Vol. 13:1 (Fall, 2008) 121-132.
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  • Wiskus, Jessica. "L'Esthétique musicale et l'ouverture au Présent." Book chapter in Perspectives de l'esthétique musicale, entre théorie et histoire, ed. Alessandro Arbo. Paris: L'Harmattan (2007) 205-214.
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  • Wiskus, Jessica. "Beneath Platonism: Temporality and The Musical Idea according to Merleau-Ponty." Article in Philosophy Today, Vol. 51 (2007) 161-165.
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  • Wiskus, Jessica. "Thought Time and Musical Time: Thinking Bachelard through Messiaen." Article in Angelaki: Journal of the Theoretical Humanities, Volume 11, Number 2 (August 2006) 179-189.
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  • Wiskus, Jessica. "Monteverdi and Dynamic Identity according to Merleau-Ponty." Article in Chiasmi International: Trilingual Studies Concerning the Thought of Merleau-Ponty, Vol. 8 (2006) 273-290.
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  • Wiskus, Jessica. "Time in a Time after Plague: Mousike through Heidegger and Bach." Article in Yeditepe'de Felsefe, Book 5 (August 2006) 192-202.
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  • Wiskus, Jessica. "Inhabited Time: Couperin's Passacaille." Article in Analecta Husserliana, XC (2006) 177-193.
  • Grants / Honors

    Research Awards / Grants / Fellowships

  • Duquesne University Presidential Scholarship Grant. Awarded in support of interdisciplinary book project, The Rhythm of Thought: Art, Literature and Music after Merleau-Ponty (2012).
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  • Camargo Foundation Fellowship. Served as a fellow for a semester of residency in Cassis, France in beginning a book that cross-references Merleau-Ponty's philosophical themes of depth, the sensible and the ideal, and temporality with the works of Debussy, Cézanne, Mallarmé, and Proust (2008).
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  • Rockefeller Prize from the American Philosophical Association. Awarded for my article, "Depth-Light-Being: Mythical Time and the Musical Idea through Merleau-Ponty" (2006).
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  • Duquesne University Presidential Scholarship Grant. Awarded in support of interdisciplinary investigation of Baroque musical form and contemporary continental philosophy (2005).
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  • Duquesne University Creative Teaching Award. Received for the development of a uniquely integrated approach to musical study on the undergraduate level (2003).
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  • Duquesne University Teacher of the Year Nomination. Recipient of nomination by students for the Teacher of the Year Award, sponsored by Omicron Delta Kappa, the National Leadership Honor Society (2003).
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  • Duquesne University Faculty Development Grant. Research at the Bibliothèque Nationale: Organization of Pitch Structure in Music of Seventeenth-Century France. Funded two months of research in Paris at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (2002).
  • Presentations

    Conference Presentations

  • Time and Musical Form Through Merleau-Ponty. Paper to be presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Society of Aesthetics. San Diego, California (October 2013).
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  • On the Movement of Expression (after Merleau-Ponty). Paper to be presented at the Annual Conference of the Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy. Eugene, Oregon (October 2013).
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  • The Visible and the Invisible through Depth. Paper presented at the Eleventh Annual Conference of the Nordic Society for Phenomenology. Copenhagen, Denmark (April 2013).
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  • Merleau-Ponty through Music: Time and Expression in Debussy's "Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune." Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy. Rochester, New York (November 2012). 
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  • The Rhythm of Thought: Cézanne, Proust and Claudel after Merleau-Ponty. Paper presented at the joint meeting of The British Society for Phenomenology and the Irish Phenomenological Circle. Cork, Ireland (March 2012).
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  • Synaesthesia, Recollection, Resurrection: Searching out Transcendence after Merleau-Ponty. Paper presented at the Conference of the International Merleau-Ponty Circle. Moorhead, Minnesota (September 2011).
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  • Merleau-Ponty, Mallarmé and a Proffer of Silence. Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (October 2011).
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  • Thinking Merleau-Ponty through Cézanne: Depth, Non-Coincidence, and Embodiment. Paper presented at the Conference of the American Philosophical Association (Eastern Division). Boston, Massachusetts (December 2010).
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  • Rhythm: Gaston Bachelard on the Discontinuities of Time. Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy. Montréal, Canada (November 2010).
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  • Cézanne: Depth in the World. Paper presented at the Conference of the International Merleau-Ponty Circle. Asheville, North Carolina (September 2010).
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  • Proust and Debussy's La Mer: Philosophical Themes. Paper presented at the International Conference of the College Music Society. Dubrovnik, Croatia. (July 2009).
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  • Institution and Rhythm: Merleau-Ponty and the Musical Idea (Debussy). Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (October 2008).
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  • Rhythm: Philosophical Expression after Merleau-Ponty. Paper presented at the Sixth Annual International Conference of the Nordic Society for Phenomenology. Kaunas, Lithuania (April 2008).
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  • On "The Expression of What is Before Expression": Rhythm in the later Merleau-Ponty. Paper presented at the International Centenary Conference: 100 Years of Merleau-Ponty. Sofia, Bulgaria (March 2008).
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  • At the End of Language and the 'Beginning' of Philosophical Thought: Depth, Rhythm and Expression after the later Merleau-Ponty. Paper presented at the Conference of the International Merleau-Ponty Circle. Memphis, Tennessee (September 2007).
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  • Beneath Platonism: Temporality and the Musical Idea. Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (October 2006).
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  • The Audible Geometry of Cézanne: Merleau-Ponty's Musical Philosophy. Paper presented at the Athens Institute for Education and Research, International Conference on Philosophy. Athens, Greece (June 2006).
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  • The Generative Dimension through the Musical Idea: Toward a Phenomenology of Pre-reflexive Being. Paper presented at the Fourth Annual International Conference of the Nordic Society for Phenomenology. Reykjavik, Iceland (April 2006).
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  • Musical Aesthetics and the Advent of Presence. Paper presented at the International Colloquium of "Méthodes et perspectives de l'esthétique musicale: Entre théorie et histoire." Strasbourg, France (November 2005).
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  • Monteverdi's Sonata sopra "Sancta Maria" and the Institution of Time as Chiasm. Paper presented at "Phenomenology and Transcendence," International Conference of the University of Nottingham Centre of Theology and Philosophy. Nottingham, England (September 2005).
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  • Coherent Difference and Habitation: The Passacaglia as Archaeology. Paper presented at the Dublin International Conference on Music Analysis. Dublin, Ireland (June 2005).
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  • The Folia: Habitation and Silence. Paper presented at the International Conference of the College Music Society. Alcalá de Henares, Spain (June 2005).
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  • Inhabited Time: Hearing Sibelius within the Chiasm. Paper presented at the Conference of the International Association for Philosophy and Literature. Helsinki, Finland (June 2005).
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  • Music as Metalogos. Paper presented at the Conference of the American Philosophical Association (Central Division). Chicago, Illinois (April 2005).
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  • Chromatic Dialectic: A Phenomenological Approach to Louis Couperin. Paper presented at the Conference of the Society for 17th-Century Music. Chicago, Illinois (April 2005).
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  • Thought Time and Musical Time: Thinking Bachelard through Messiaen. Paper presented at the British Society for Phenomenology. Oxford, England (April 2005).
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  • "The Ear of Sigè the Abyss": A Return to Music. Paper presented at the International Conference for Merleau-Ponty and Schelling on the Question of Nature. Florence, Italy (March 2005).
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  • Time in a Time after Plague: Hearing Bach's Wachet auf through Heidegger. Paper presented at the International Conference on Arts and Humanities. Honolulu, Hawaii (January 2005).
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  • Music: In Search of a Universal Meaning. Paper presented at the 2nd Global Conference of Interculturalism. Vienna, Austria (December 2004).
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  • Vertical Time: Couperin's Passacaille. Paper presented at the International Congress of the World Institute for Advanced Phenomenological Research. Oxford, England (August 2004).
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  • Developments in 17th-century Chromaticism: Tracing a Shift in the Location of UT. Paper presented at the International Conference of the College Music Society. Muelle, Costa Rica (June 2003).
  • Courses

    Courses Taught at Duquesne University

  • GMLI 543: Philosophies of Music Theory and History (Graduate Seminar)
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  • GMLI 632: Pro-Seminar in Music Aesthetics (Graduate Seminar)
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  • GMTH 024: Diagnostic Theory Exam (Graduate Placement Exam)
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  • GMTH 557: Debussy and fin-de-siècle France (Graduate Seminar)
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  • GMUS 730: Music Theory Thesis (Graduate Independent Thesis)
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  • MUSC 201: Musicianship III (Undergraduate Analysis of Music: Common Practice)
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  • MUSC 202: Musicianship IV (Undergraduate Analysis of Music: 20th-Century Techniques)
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  • MUSC 301W: Musicianship V (Undergraduate History of Music: Ancient - Baroque eras)
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  • MUSC 302W: Musicianship VI (Undergraduate History of Music: Classical - Modern eras)
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  • PHIL 502: Philosophy of Music (Graduate Seminar for the Department of Philosophy)