Call for Papers

Sound Collectives: The Acoustics of the Social in American Film and

An International Conference

Dec. 7-8, 2018

Catholic University of Eichstaett-Ingolstadt

Sound positions individuals as social subjects. The presence of human
beings, animals, objects, or technologies reverberates into the material
and virtual spaces we inhabit and produces distinct soundscapes that
render social practices audible. The assessment of a sonic phenomenon as
noise or music, as rallying cry or offense, as reassuring or disturbing
event reveals the social paradigms that govern our perception. As
Michael Bull and Les Back write in /The Auditory Culture Reader/, paying
critical attention to ?sound makes us re-think [?] how we relate to
others, ourselves, and the spaces and places we inhabit? (4). When sound
travels through space, it becomes a repository for the relational
activities that define a living environment. Narrative media like film
and literature can be considered as cultural sites where the capacity of
sound to register and to expose the stratifications and constitutive
processes of society is negotiated.

This conference wants to facilitate the interdisciplinary exchange on
acoustic concepts, discourses, and practices related to the social in
narrative media. It seeks to address the increasing interest in sound
studies as a research area for American studies, particularly when it
comes to American film and literary studies. Which sound collectives do
films and literary works register and how are these represented or
mediated? What are the societal functions of sound, noise, and music in
film and literature? What kind of debates, methods, and theoretical
approaches on sound are currently developed in the respective scholarly
fields? And how can film and literary studies learn from each other or
even join forces in their critical engagement with sound?

Possible topics could include, but are not restricted to:

– literary or cinematic orchestrations of sonic communities and
polyphonic soundscapes

– politics of sound and social critique in literature and film

– sounds of resistance or subversion

– social narratives in film scores or soundtracks

– aural representations of the public sphere

– sound, social formations, and aesthetics

– power relations, agency, and sound

– sound and ethnic or racialized formations

– sound and class

– sound and gender

– practices of silencing

– ethics of listening

– acoustic practices of participation

– sonic sites of migration, globalization

– sonic nostalgia or futuristic soundscapes in film and literature

Please send a 300-word abstract and a short CV to Nathalie Aghoro
( by June 20, 2018.