Earlier this month I passed my dissertation proposal exam and I am beyond thrilled. The project is still coming together and I'm not thrilled about the title but it is coming along. In my head it's clear but expressing everything in words is still a tad difficult. It will come together and make sense, I promise.
I am aiming to be finished by May - September 2020 and in this upcoming fall after my last language exam I will be ABD !!!
Here is a little info about my project in rough draft form...
Listening into the Void: The politics of listening and relationality...
This dissertation investigates the possibilities of decolonizing the subject of listening in academic discourse. This is done in an effort to move beyond decolonization as metaphor and engage with non dominant ways of being and conceptualizing the act of listening.
Chapter one provides a literature review one the topic of listening in music and sound studies literature in an effort to discuss how dominant western culture understands listening, hears itself, and renders the so called “Other” inaudible. This section closes with an account of how listening is utilized theoretically as a tool of knowledge production and consumption in the work of Steven Feld’s notion of acoustemology. I then suggest ways to question how to move beyond decolonization as metaphor and engage with possibilities of decolonizing the theorization of listening.
Chapter two takes Joseph Bohuslav Foerster’s 1890 five-part solo piano piece Listy z meho deniku/ Pages from my diary as a case study to discuss listening in relation to intimacy, diary making, and the perception of narrative in music.
Chapter three delves into understanding the politics of how concepts of space and time impact the creation of that which is perceivable and frames acts of listening as acts of agency. In this chapter I theorize that listening can act as a process and method for perceiving nonlinear time and non-aural events. (Some examples of this type of listening are acts of listening to ancestors and non-human entities such land and water.)This section focuses specifically on the work of Tēvita O. Ka’ili (specifically his particular contributions on the Tā-Vā theory of reality) to contribute towards respecting indigenous epistemological and philosophical sovereignty and acknowledging indigenous critiques of unchallenged aspects of the intellectual legacy of the west.
Chapter four focuses on listening as artistic practice in the context of soundwalks as inspired by the sound art of Janet Cardiff and pairs the epistemological paradigm of acoustemology with the methodological framework of creative arts enquiry. In this section I will create one 30 minute recorded guided soundwalk at Tongva Park in Los Angeles, California and write about the process of artistic creation in relation to the concepts of decolonizing listening as mentioned in the first chapter, listening and intimacy as mentioned in the second chapter, and listening to atemporal, non human, and non-aural events as mentioned in the third chapter.
In this chapter I endeavor to, as Estelle Barrett states, make the theoretical tangible through this soundwalk.
While this project grounds itself in the field of Sound Studies it weaves the disciplines of Musicology, Ethnomusicology, Philosophy, Indigenous Studies, and Black Studies into conversation with each other. Through this approach an understanding of “being in relationship” to sound through listening is revealed which asserts that objects, events, and individuals are never complete and always in process.