Working Groups

Sound Studies / Media Studies

The past two decades have seen an explosion of scholarly work on sound by scholars in the humanities and social sciences. There are now a range of histories and ethnographies of listening, studies of natural/environmental and built soundscapes, and a proliferation of books and articles on sound media, sound art and sound studies more broadly across the major disciplines of the humanities and social sciences. Scholars are rethinking longstanding philosophical assumptions about the nature of sound and listening, the acoustic and semiotic elements of speech, ideas of hearing/listening and music in modern life and modern thought, and the relationship of sound to the sensorium. Our working group seeks to map, assess, and gain a deeper schematic and critical understanding of this work and the trends in the field(s) of sound studies.  To this end, our working group draws upon the interdisciplinary strengths of scholars at Rutgers working in literature, film, music, and various aspects of cultural studies.  Our reading and programmatic agenda revolves around questions of sonic mediation, technology, musicality, and the ways that identities and political realities/discourses are shaped by and through manifestations of sound and through the construction/manipulation of sonic space.