Sound Culture Studies and Modernity in Asia Conference

Iris Haukamp's picture
Call for Papers
July 16, 2018
Subject Fields: 
Asian History / Studies, Cultural History / Studies, Humanities, Popular Culture Studies, Social History / Studies

Call for papers for the Sound Culture Studies and Modernity in Asia Conference
Organised by the Asian Sound Cultures and Modernity Project at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies

Date: 14- 15 September 2018
Tokyo University of Foreign Studies

In Asia, as elsewhere, the political, social, cultural and technological changes wrought by modernity gave rise to an onslaught to the senses that is most often explained through reference to visual, material culture. 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 aim of this interdisciplinary conference is to examine sound in the process of modernity in Asia as an essential aspect of global cultural, social, political and technological change.
    The recent turn toward the history of the senses has encouraged scholars to examine the historical transformation of sound, and the usefulness of this aural approach to social and cultural history has been forcefully examined from varying perspectives. As archives begin to digitize everything that has ever been published, noted, photographed, carved, stamped or painted, the problem of sound as a historical resource is finally beginning to be addressed. Yet, the study of sound in the process of modernity remains very much restricted to comparisons between Western countries. To the extent that it has assumed a transnational or global perspective it is within the universalism of a western discourse of modernity.
    How does attention to modern sound in Asia help us as academics understand the region within a global perspective? What can sound tell us about the ambiguous nature of the experience of modernity in Asia? The conference also seeks to address the wider interdisciplinary theoretical questions of sources, methodologies and approaches in the study of sound cultures. It will also question the ways in which ‘modern sound’ transformed individual, communal, social and national subjectivities, made clear political and social cleavages and brought new forms of social, cultural and political control. This conference, therefore, is an invitation to rethink and re-examine the ways in which processes of modernity in Asia were experienced through sound.

Some questions that could be addressed, but the conference is not limited to:

  • How do we ‘read’ sound as academics?
  • What is modern 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 modern sound?
  • In what ways did sound structure urban space?
  • How is sound recorded in literature and other media?
  • How does sound affect relations of class, gender, and ethnicity?

Please send a title and an abstract of ca 300 words to:
By: 16 July 12018.

Conference organizers;
Dr Martyn Smith, SOAS, (visiting researcher at TUFS)
Dr Iris Haukamp, TUFS

Contact Info: 

Conference organizers;
Dr Martyn Smith, SOAS, (visiting researcher at TUFS)
Dr Iris Haukamp, TUFS