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Sound Studies

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How do we hear? Why do we listen? From religious chant to village bells to elevator muzak to noise pollution, sound has played a major role in human cultures and human experience since time immemorial. In this course, students will approach and
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  Sound Studies HIS 4108 / MUS 4108 Stephen Higa Fall 2012 Office Hours: Thursdays, TF 2:10-4pm 2pm-4pm, Barn 213B Email: shiga@bennington.edu How do we hear? Why do we listen? From religious chant to village bells to elevator muzak to noise pollution, sound has played a major role in human cultures and human experience since time immemorial. In this course, students will approach and engage critically with sound, listening, hearing, and aurality as categories of analysis. In addition to weekly readings, students will be asked to write papers, partake in listening/sound exercises, and confect creative projects that engage with the themes of the class. requirements 1. Reading : There is a considerable amount of reading in this course. I understand that you have other courses, and even lives outside of school. I have spent a good deal of time narrowing down all the things I would have liked you to read. Therefore, I expect you to complete the readings for each week so that you come to discussion section  prepared to engage the readings with your classmates in nuanced and fruitful ways. During our first class meeting, we will talk about reading strategies. 2. Class discussion : The heart of this course is discussion. Each meeting, three  students will take charge of discussion (this means, of course, that most students will take responsibility multiple times over the term). 1. The first student will prepare a list of discussion questions and email them to everyone 24 hours before class meeting. This student will then be responsible for leading discussion that week. 2. The second student will bring in some sort of exhibit: this exhibit can be a sound, an object, a short activity, an image, a digital file, a website, or whatever the student feels relates to the readings at hand. The class will engage critically with this exhibit. 3. The third student will take short notes during the discussion and give a brief recap of what we have gone over at the end of class. Laptops, cell phones, iPods, etc. are not permitted in class unless there is a documented need. The notetaker may use a laptop if desired. 3. Attendance : You canÕt participate in discussion if you donÕt come to class! It is mandatory that you come to every class meeting. If you simply must miss out, please let me know as soon as possible. For the class that you miss, you are responsible for turning in a paper (~2 pages) responding thoughtfully to that meetingÕs readings. If you do not make up the class that you miss, you will not be able to pass this course. 4. Writing assignments : Each student will write two papers during the course of the semester (see the due dates below). Details for each assignment will be handed out in class. In lieu of a final paper, however, and in consultation with me, you may opt to confect your own creative project. You will be expected to compose a statement or explanation (~4-6 pages) of your project to show how it engages the themes of the class.   Midterm Paper Rough Draft: Due Monday, Oct. 1 Midterm Paper: Due Monday, Oct. 8 Final Paper/Project: Due Tuesday, Dec. 11 At least three weeks before your final paper/project is due (i.e., around Thanksgiving), you must come talk to me about it. You can visit me during my office hours (at the top of this syllabus) or set up an appointment with me. Note: emailing me is not a substitute! 5. Other assignments : Some weeks require short listening/sound/creative assignments. These are not meant to be extra burdens but are meant to expand your engagement with the course. You are allowed to opt out of two of these assignments (for example, you may wish to opt out of the assignment for the week you lead discussion). Details for each assignment will be discussed a week before they are due. Paper format : All written work must be double-spaced in a classic 12-point font (such as Times New Roman) with one-inch margins on all sides. Remember to proofread! Evaluation: Your evaluation will be based on attendance, participation in discussion, the midterm paper, the final paper/project, and good faith efforts on your short listening/sound/creative assignments. Extensions : I do not grant extensions except in the case of medical emergencies or similarly grave circumstances. If you find that you need an extension, contact me as soon as possible. Communication : If youÕre having any trouble with the class material or if you find that something in your life is interfering with your academics, please talk to me before the issue becomes too difficult to manage. Of course, this isnÕt the only reason to come see me! My office hours are at the top of this syllabus; I very much want to get to know you, so please take advantage of them! required texts/books Baylor, Byrd and Peter Parnall. The Other Way to Listen . New York: Aladdin Paperbacks, 1997. Bill, J. Brent.  Holy Silence: The Gift of Quaker Spirituality . Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press, 2005. Cox, Cristoph and Daniel Warner, eds.  Audio Culture: Readings in Modern Music . New York: Continuum, 2009. Schafer, R. Murray. The Soundscape: Our Sonic Environment and the Tuning of the World  . Rochester, VT: Destiny Books, 1994. Course Reader [R]       schedule  Introduction Friday, Sept. 7: Introduction  Listening Tuesday, Sept. 11: Byrd Baylor and Peter Parnall, The Other Way to Listen  (New York: Aladdin Paperbacks, 1997), entire. Steven Connor, ÒEdisonÕs Teeth: Touching Hearing,Ó in  Hearing Cultures: Essays on Sound, Listening and Modernity , edited by Veit Erlmann (Oxford: Berg, 2005),  pp. 153-172.  [R]  Friday, Sept.14: ÒModes of Listening,Ó in  Audio Culture , pp. 65-107. Soundscape Tuesday, Sept. 18: R. Murray Schafer, The Soundscape , pp. 3-99. Friday, Sept. 21: (NO CLASS: STEPHENÕS CONFERENCEÑsit outside and read!) R. Murray Schafer, The Soundscape , pp. 103-202. Tuesday, Sept. 25: R. Murray Schafer, The Soundscape , pp. 205-262. Sources and Evidence for Sonic Pasts Friday, Sept. 28: Sven Ouzman, ÒSeeing is Deceiving: Rock Art and the Non-Visual,Ó World Archaeology  33 (2001): 237-56.  [R]  Bruce Smith, ÒListening to the Wild Blue Yonder: The Challenges of Acoustic Ecology,Ó in  Hearing Cultures: Essays on Sound, Listening and Modernity , edited by Veit Erlmann (Oxford: Berg, 2005), pp. 21-31.  [R]  Mark Smith, ÒListening to the Heard Worlds of Antebellum America,Ó in The Auditory Culture Reader  , edited by Michael Bull and Les Back (Oxford: Berg, 2003), pp. 137-163. [R]  Tuesday, Oct. 2: Jonathan Gunderlach, ÒSound: Exploring a Character-Defining Feature of Historic Places,Ó  Association for Preservation Technology Bulletin  38 (2007): 13-20. [R]  Alain Corbin, ÒIdentity, Bells, and the Nineteenth-Century French Village,Ó in  Hearing  History , ed. Mark M. Smith (Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2004), pp. 184-204.  [R]  Jan Nuchelmans, ÒFinding the Right Context: Where to Perform Early Music,Ó in Companion to Medieval and Renaissance Music , edited by Tess Knighton and   David Fallows (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992), pp. 300-304.  [R]  Friday, Oct. 5: ÒThe Renaissance, Oxbridge, and Italy,Ó in  Inside Early Music: Conversations With  Performers , Bernard D. Sherman (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997), pp. 97-156. [R] Monday, Oct. 8: MIDTERM PAPER DUE    Language and Meaning   Tuesday, Oct. 9: Claudette Columbus, ÒSoundscapes in Andean Contexts,Ó  History of Religions  44 (2004): 153-168. [R]  Janis Nuckolls, ÒLanguage and Nature in Sound Alignment,Ó in  Hearing Cultures:  Essays on Sound, Listening and Modernity , edited by Veit Erlmann (Oxford: Berg, 2005), pp. 65-85. [R]  Friday, Oct. 12: Guy L. Beck, Sonic Theology: Hinduism and Sacred Sound   (Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 1993), pp. 1-80. [R]   Science, Knowledge, Epistemology  Tuesday, Oct. 16: Cyrus Mody, ÒThe Sounds of Science: Listening to Laboratory Practice,Ó Science, Technology, and Human Values  30 (2005): 175-98. [R]  Sophia Roosth, ÒScreaming Yeast: Sonocytology, Cytoplasmic Milieus, and Cellular Subjectivities,Ó Critical Inquiry  35 (2009): 332-350. [R]   Silence, Knowledge, Epistemology Friday, Oct. 19: (LONG WEEKENDÑNO CLASS) Tuesday, Oct. 23: J. Brent Bill,  Holy Silence: The Gift of Quaker Spirituality  (Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press, 2005), pp. 1-120.  Phenomenology Friday, Oct. 26: Martin Heidegger,  Being and Time , trans. John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson (New York: Harper & Row, 1962), pp. 49-63. [R]  Don Ihde,  Listening and Voice: Phenomenologies of Sound   (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, Albany, 2007), pp. 17-71. [R]  Tuesday, Oct. 30: (PLAN DAY: NO CLASS)  Listening and Mediation Friday, Nov. 2: Charles Stankievech, ÒFrom Stethoscopes to Headphones: An Acoustic Spatialization of   Subjectivity,Ó  Leonardo Music Journal   17 (2007): 55-59. [R]  Shuhei Hosokawa, ÒThe Walkman Effect,Ó  Popular Music  4 (1984): 165-180.  [R]  Jonathan Sterne, ÒMedicineÕs Acoustic Culture: Mediate Auscultation, the Stethoscope and the ÔAutopsy of the Living,ÕÓ in The Auditory Culture Reader  , edited by Michael Bull and Les Back (Oxford: Berg, 2003), pp. 191-222.  [R]  Tuesday, Nov. 6: Steve Feld & Donald Brenneis, ÒDoing Anthropology in Sound,Ó  American Ethnologist   31 (2004): 461-74. [R]  Francisco L—pez, liner notes to  La Selva: Sound Environments from a Neotropical Rain  Forest  , V2_Archief, 1998, compact disc. [R]    Noise and Modernity Friday, Nov. 9: Schmidt, Charles. ÒNoise That Annoys: Regulating Unwanted Sound.Ó  Environmental  Health Perspectives  113 (2005): A43-A44. [R]  Bijsterveld, Karin. ÒThe Diabolical Symphony of the Mechanical Age: Technology and Symbolism of Sound in European and North American Noise Abatement Campaigns, 1900-40.Ó Social Studies of Science  31 (2001): 37-70. [R]  Tuesday, Nov. 13: ÒMusic and Its Others: Noise, Sound, Silence,Ó in  Audio Culture , pp. 5-59.  New Media Friday, Nov. 16: ÒMusic in the Age of Electronic (Re)Production,Ó in  Audio Culture , pp. 112-157. Tuesday, Nov. 20: ÒDJ Culture,Ó in  Audio Culture , pp. 329-358. Friday, Nov. 23 (NO CLASS: THANKSGIVING)  New Music Tuesday, Nov. 27: ÒExperimental Musics,Ó in  Audio Culture , pp. 207-239. Friday, Nov. 30: ÒThe Open Work,Ó in  Audio Culture , pp. 165-201.  Presentation of Final Papers/Projects Tuesday, Dec. 4 Friday, Dec. 7 Tuesday, Dec. 11: FINAL PAPERS/PROJECTS DUE  
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