Sounds of Solidarity @ ASA 2023

deadline for submissions: 
August 15, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Gabriel Saloman Mindel / Alex Ullman
contact email: 

 This is a call for participants in “The Sounds of Solidarity Audio Potluck” at the American Studies Association’s 2023 conference being held November 2-5 in Montreal, Quebec. [] In the past year, labor organizing in the United States has flourished in various sites of workplace precarity: from Amazon warehouses to Hollywood writer’s rooms, from  Starbucks cafes to some of the most prestigious research universities across the U.S. This labor activity has an acoustic register, a sonic praxis that relies on noisemaking to extend the picket beyond the material limits of the line. There are many examples: the improvised chorus of strike songs, charivaris processing past the homes of the bosses; the antiphonal relay between picketers and car traffic; musical interruptions of classrooms and public talks; the telephony of phone banking; even the tactical use of profanity (“Fuck the U.C.!”). Taken together, the noisiness of a strike is not just an index of labor rebellion, but an act of solidarity itself! Inspired by the ASA’s call for critical engagements with solidarity, we offer a model for practicing “love in public” in the sonic space of the academic conference. This “Audio Potluck” practices listening as collective knowledge production, as an act of mutual aid, and as a gesture of vulnerability.  We intend to dismantle the turgid, thesis driven, monological performance of the traditional conference paper and replace it with a digestible, listening-centered stage for collaborative thinking. Participants in this “Audio Potluck” are invited to bring a short audio recording–from their current research in progress or from a recent workplace uprising–to share and to listen in detail as a group. These recordings might capture life in the lacunae of politics, identity, and feeling; they may be musical recordings, keynote sonic contexts, or fugitive sounds that have the potential to reveal that which escapes normative attention. Presenters are encouraged to think with and alongside these recordings: this “potluck” is more rehearsal, less final thesis driven statement as such. After presenting their sonic materials, the gathered group will discuss what they’ve heard for an equitable amount of time, sharing thoughts, feelings, sensations, and questions brought forth. After participants have shared and conversed, the “fishbowl” will open up to the surrounding audience. 

To be absolutely clear: this is not a panel presentation, or a place for finished and refined work. This is a place to share and listen and think together. Also, we mean “potluck” literally: everyone is also encouraged to bring food and drink to share. We’ll be cooking! 

We are asking scholars who are planning on attending the 2023 ASA conference and who are interested in bringing something to the audio potluck to reach out to us with proposals for participation.

Please include:

  1. Your name, affiliation, title
  2. Any links to websites, profiles, published work you wish to share
  3. A brief description of the event or context you wish to discuss (ie. a particular strike, protest, or action) and what questions or lines of inquiry this has brought up for you. You can also describe how this CFP relates to your work as an organizer or research as a scholar.
  4. A description of, or link to, the audio or video you might want to discuss (if available)
  5. A statement describing your plans regarding attending ASA (whether they are certain, provisional, etc.)
  6. Any questions or other information you might need addressed.

Please email expressions of interest to: 

Gabriel Mindel <>& Alex Ullman <> Current participants include: Pablo D. Herrera Veitia (University of Toronto)Rebecca Lentjes (University of Kentucky)Gabriel Mindel (UC Santa Cruz)Julie Beth Napolin(New School)Eric Porter (UC Santa Cruz)Jonathan Sterne (McGill)Alex Ullman (UC Berkeley)