Sound, Ontology, and Race: Which way does the turn go? 

Sound, Ontology, and Race: Which way does the turn go? 

NICA Masterclass with Dr. Alejandra Bronfman (University at Albany, SUNY)

Date: Tuesday 11 December, 15:00-17:00
Location: Potgieterzaal, University Library (UB), Singel 425, Amsterdam

During this masterclass we will work through a recent debate on the meaning of the recent ontological turn in Sound Studies, and in particular its relationship to race, politics and history. In turn, authors Marie Thompson, Annie Goh and Christoph Cox puzzle through what it means to bring materialism to bear on sound and listening. Is this problematic to considerations of sonic alterity and the politics of knowledge production? What are the productive critiques and fruitful considerations to bear in mind as we develop our own research projects? This workshop will invite participants to critically engage with these texts and think through the implications for imagining their own research directions. 

Reading preparation

– Thompson, Marie. “Whiteness and the Ontological Turn in Sound Studies.” Parallax 23.3 (2017): 266-282.

– Goh, Annie. “Sounding Situated Knowledges: Echo in Archaeoacoustics.” Parallax 23.3 (2017): 283-304.

– Cox, Christoph. “Sonic Realism and Auditory Culture: A Reply to Marie Thompson and Annie Goh.” Parallax 24.2 (2018): 234-242.

Dr. Alejandra Bronfman is Associate Professor in the Department of Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies at the University at Albany, SUNY. Her recent book, Isles of Noise: Sonic Media in the Caribbean (University of North Carolina Press, 2016), considers the politics and poetics of sound and broadcasting in Cuba, Jamaica and Haiti in the early 20th century. Future and past research interests include histories of race, the production of knowledge, and the materiality of media, its archives and infrastructures. Currently she is developing a project on sound, toxicity and environment in Vieques, Puerto Rico during the military occupation of the island. Another project decenters Cold War histories with a focus on Cuba-Haiti clandestine broadcasting in the early 1960s.