Blog Post

The Body as Ear: A Listening Remix




Hi Steph,


I just learned about HASTAC today. This blog is wonderful, and I enjoyed reading your pieces on listening and materiality. I wish I had such a forum when I was writing my diss in 2006! You are asking similar questions to what I grappled with in my dissertation 4 years ago. I am now working to update my research to include new digital technologies. Mainly I'm interested in interesections between listening, technology, and racial meaning. Like you, I was trying to undo the notion of hearing as a natural, fixed phenomenon and listening as disconnected from that. My dissertation is called On the Lower Frequencies and I completed it at Penn in 2006. I'm not sure how helpful it will be, but you can check it out. I'll keep reading your posts. It's a great way to get my head back into research while I'm teaching.

Keep Listening,



Thanks for your comments, Nicole.  I would love to hear more about your work and to share some references.  Please email me if you're interested in talking more! I look forward to checking out your diss.


I thought the book a couple of years ago on Stelarc was fascinating. Also, this came across a couple of mailing lists I read and I thought it sounded relevant to your interests:



Call for papers  Interference: A Journal of Audio Culture, are pleased to announce a call  for papers for the inaugural issue *"An Ear Alone is Not a Being":  Embodied Mediations in Audio Culture*.  *Deadline for submission of Abstracts October 31st 2010*"  
I enjoyed your post, and I look forward to reading more.

Steve Burnett

Thanks, Steve!  Interference looks like it's going to be a very cool journal (with an amazing editorial board).  I appreciate the heads up. 


Hi Steph - I wonder whether you know the work of Bruce Smith, who is very influential in early modern literary studies and more widely in sound studies as well.  Throughout his book _The Acoustic World of Early Modern England: Attending to the O-factor_, Smith discusses the question of listening through the body, including within the Renaissance theater.  And for a more recent and possibly more transportable discussion of thinking with the body, I'd recommend "Hearing Green" in the edited collection _Reading the Early Modern Passions_.  If you don't already know Smith's work, it might help to add a dimension of what he calls "historical phenomenology" to your research: which is to say that people did not always listen in the same way, and it can be very illuminating to think about the historical dimensions of the problem.


Thanks for the tip, Scott! I have read a little of Smith's work (in the fabulous collection of essays, Hearing Cultures), but not his major works.  I'll definitely check it out.