Sound Politics: Critically Listening to the Past

An issue of: Radical History Review

Sound Politics
Journal Issue Pages: 216 Volume 15, Number 1 Number: 121 Published: January 2015 An issue of Radical History Review
Special Issue Editor(s): Daniel Bender, Duane Corpis, Daniel Walkowitz
This special issue considers the historically contested politics of sound, especially the ways that sound blurs boundaries between dissent and discipline, mediates the relationship between resistance and power, reinforces distinctions, but also challenges hierarchies. Sound, in these essays, operates simultaneously as something materially produced within social and technological relations and something interpreted and imagined, especially by social and political elites, but also by those excluded from privilege or subjected to authority. Methodologically, most of the contributors to this volume examine the question of voice, not simply as words uttered but instead as sounds shaped, heard, evaluated, and then transcribed in a variety of sources as diverse as court records, parliamentary proceedings, travel narratives, and newspaper editorials. By analyzing voices and utterances for their sonic meanings, the essays here offer insight into how historical actors both enunciated and heard the aural markers of class, gender, and racial difference. They also reveal how sound articulated and demarcated social space, whether in cities, aboard ships, in courtrooms, or in the sites between street and home, the public and the private.


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