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CFP: Listening In: Sonic Interventions in the Middle East and North Africa

The Department of Performance Studies at Northwestern University announces a call for papers for our upcoming symposium

Listening In: Sonic Interventions in the Middle East and North Africa

May 13, 2016

At the historic five-year mark of unrest in the Middle East and North Africa region, this interdisciplinary symposium tackles the intersections of culture, politics, and society from the unique perspective of performance and sound studies. Given the ongoing crisis in the region, what does it mean to listen in – to events as they unfold, to the sounds of power and violence, to voices whose testimonies are silenced by dominant narratives, and to cultural expressions of conflict and displacement? In which ways does the act of listening produce new forms of public engagement and how do these emerge in relation to divergent social, cultural, technological, and spatial phenomena?

We invite scholars from across disciplines to reflect on listening as a critical practice that emerges through socio-political engagement and that takes shape through a variety of media, cultural expressions, and performances in everyday life. By amplifying the role of sound and aurality in the past five years of violence and displacement in the Middle East and North Africa, the symposium considers how power becomes (in)audible through sonic contestations, and interrogates the political, representational, and affective economy of sound in this particular historical moment. This event also hopes to prompt an “urgency of listening” (Erlmann 2010) across borders leading to better understandings of how we engage with the political processes through which voices both emerge or are suppressed.

Conference Program

Keynote Address: Professor Deborah Kapchan (NYU)

Confirmed speakers: Deborah Kapchan, Maria Malmstrom, Peter McMurray, Ziad Fahmy, Wendy Pearlman, Shayna Silverstein, Leila Tayyeb, in addition to a screening/discussion with the artist of The All Hearing 2014 by Lawrence Abu Hamdan

For further information or questions regarding the conference program, please contact Dr. Shayna Silverstein at shayna.silverstein@northwestern.edu.

Call for Proposals

We welcome paper proposals from advanced graduate students as well as independent and affiliated faculty. Performance / sound installation proposals are also welcome. Interdisciplinary proposals are highly encouraged, including those from anthropology, art history, dance studies, ethnomusicology and musicology, film studies, Islamic studies, literature, media studies, Middle East studies, performance studies, religious studies, and theater studies, among other fields.

The deadline for proposals is December 4, 2015

Proposals may be submitted via email at ps@northwestern.edu. Please include the following information in your proposal: name (as printed in conference materials), brief bio (about 50 words), contact information (email and telephone number), paper title, abstract (no more than 250 words), and format (paper, performance, or workshop, with indication of special space needs, if any).

Please note that presentations that require minimal tech are optimal but we do have a black box theater available. Generally we will have available computers and speakers that project standard A/V and ask that you bring your own adaptor.

There is limited funding available for graduate students and international presenters from any discipline who are presenting. Please include a short description of your travel circumstances / travel expenses in your application, if you wish to be considered.

Listening In is co-sponsored by the Department of Performance Studies, the Center for Global Culture and Communication, the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities, the Middle East and North Africa Program, and the SoundTank Initiative at Northwestern University.


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