Call for Chapters: Asian Sound Cultures

Iris Haukamp's picture

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Call for Publications
April 15, 2019
Subject Fields: 
Asian History / Studies, Area Studies, Cultural History / Studies, Humanities, Social History / Studies

The recent turn toward the history of the senses has encouraged scholars across the humanities and social sciences to examine the historical transformation of sound. In Asia, as elsewhere, the political, social, cultural and technological transformations of the long twentieth century have given rise to an onslaught to the senses that is most often explained through reference to the published, noted, photographed, filmed, carved, stamped or painted. Emotional, ephemeral and subjective, rather than concrete, empirical and scientific, the role of sound is constantly undermined by the primacy attributed to the visual as objective, rational and, ultimately, modern. 

The usefulness of an aural approach to social, cultural or political change has only recently begun to be examined from varying perspectives, and the ‘problem’ of sound (beyond music) as an academic resource is finally beginning to be addressed. Yet, the study of sound in relation to the technological transformations of the long twentieth century remains very much restricted to (comparisons between) western countries. To the extent that the field of sound studies has assumed a transnational or global perspective, it is within the universalism of a western discourse of modernity. The aim of this interdisciplinary volume is to examine sound in Asia as an intrinsic aspect of global cultural, social, political and technological change in relation to as well as independent of this western universalism. 

This volume will question the ways in which sound has transformed individual, communal, social and national subjectivities; made clear political and social cleavages; and brought new forms of social, cultural and political control. We also seek to address the wider interdisciplinary theoretical questions of sources, methodologies, and approaches in the study of sound cultures.

Questions to consider could include: 
•    How do we ‘read’ sound?
•    How did the process of modernity alter the soundscapes of Asia?
•    Along what social or cultural lines do cracks appear in any consensus over the nature of sound?
•    In what ways has sound structured urban space?
•    How is sound recorded in literature and other media?
•    How does sound affect relations of class, gender, and ethnicity?
•    How does attention to sound in Asia help us understand the region within a global perspective? 
•    What can sound tell us about the ambiguous nature of the experience of political, social and cultural change in Asia? 

We encourage in particular contributions dealing with regions other than Japan, Thailand, and India, and we welcome interdisciplinary and comparative approaches.

Please send a chapter outline of 500 words and a short biographical note to by 15 April 2019.

If the proposal is accepted, the author will be asked to submit the full article by 30 June 2019. The articles should be between 6,000 to 8,000 words long.

•    Submission of proposals: 15 April, 2019
•    Acceptance notified by: 1 May, 2019
•    Submission of full articles: 30 June, 2019

Contact Info: 

Dr Iris Haukamp, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies.
Dr Christin Hoene, University of Kent.
Dr Martyn Smith, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.