Sonic Intersections: Mobilizing Sound and Listening in Humanities Research

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Northeast MLA Convention
contact email: 

Navigate to to submit your abstract to this panel, which is part of next year's NeMLA Convention in Pittsburgh, PA.

Abstracts will not be accepted via email, but you may contact the panel chair, Laura Feibush, at the email address listed above with any questions.

Go to for more information about the 49th Annual NeMLA Convention.

Panel Description:

At a particularly loud and combative moment in public discourse, this panel invites papers that deal with sound and its others: music, noise, and/or silence. Bringing together speakers who identify sound studies as a key element of their work, this panel aims to spark conversations about sound both as an object and as a means of study. Those submitting papers are encouraged to parse widespread definitions or conceptions of voice, volume, vibration, even sound itself. Contemporary theoretical touchstones include the likes of Brandon LaBelle, Steve Goodman, and Jonathan Sterne.

Undergirding the panel’s talks will be the following questions: What does a focus on sound uniquely afford research in the humanities? How does sound perpetuate and/or destabilize existing discourses, institutions, arts, or environments, built or otherwise? Submitters are asked, in particular, to consider the role of listening: what, for example, might be the effects of a renewed focus on listening in public discourse, in the academy, and arenas further afield? How might we begin to redefine listening for use in the classroom, for instance, in public spaces, or even in government or corporate arenas?

Welcome submissions might handle, but are not limited to, the following topics: practices of listening, sensory ethnography, sound in scenes of civil protest, the role of the sonic in negotiations of race, class, or gender, sound sculpture or installation art, soundscapes, sound technologies, remediation, sonic pedagogies, and/or historiographical projects. This panel invites research about sound, but it also welcomes presentations that include unconventional sonic elements in their format, in line with its attitude towards the sonic as a vital form of meaning-making.