Literary Sound Studies

Literature plus sound studies. Some quotes and books and Info

“Discussions like these have spurred me to meditate more deeply on sound. And now that I’ve really begun to consider it, texts have become much noisier places; the white spaces and black marks becoming places for reading and hearing.  Thinking more deeply about sonic affinities and communities has helped me really begin to understand how sound shapes sight and sight shapes sound.”( Sharpe, Christina. ” Hearing the Tenor of the Vendler/Dove Conversation: Race, Listening, and the “Noise” of Texts” in the Blog Sounding Out retrieved on August 29, 2013).

Sylvia Mieszkowski

“One of these is the task of preparing the second book I wrote, during my time as an Assistant Professor at Goethe University Frankfurt, for publication. It is a contribution to what I keep calling ‘literary sound studies’, and analyses how the production, reception and interpretation of sounds in literary representation disturbs and dovetails with processes of meaning making and identity construction. Hopefully, Resonances of Alterity: Sound, Desire and Anxiety in Non-Realist Fiction, published by [transcript] will hit the market by the end of 2013.” (




Key thinkers 4

Doreeen Massey: Importance of conceptualizing time and space. How they are conceptualizes the reshapes understanding of the social world and how to effect transformations on and of it.  “Geography Matters” “layers of investment, “Spatial structures of production”: solidified and transformed by political and economical strategies and actors.  Acknowledges that ideologies of race and gender complicate her analysis. The construction of gender relations is central to patial organization of social relations (1994). Conceptualizations of time and place have problematically mapped onto the dualism feminity and masculinity. Places might be understood as “porous networks of social relations”. “power Geometry” to  emphasize how groups and individuals are positioned in these porous networks.  Concept “Space-Time” in which they are seen as insepatable: the spatial is integral to the production of history and  thus to the possibility of politics  just as the temporal is to geography (1994).

Reinterpreting the objects in space as  products of the spatial organization of relations.  The social and the spatial need to be conceptualized together.

Gillian Rose: Encouraged to consider the gendered constructions of geographical knowledge. *critiques of visual methodological approaches*Best known Book Feminism and Geography: How the approaches legitimize masculine forms of geographical knowledge, isolating women’s ways of knowing. Text Visual Methodologies (2001). Second book Colonial and Post colonial geographies: complicated relations between gender, sex, race , class and sexuality experienced through the written representations of spatial differentiation. Another book Writing Women and Space  critique to Bhabha as using masculine vocabulary and disembodiedment. The process of representation is central to everyday and to the engendering of subjects in that space. Attemts not to prioritize the ‘real’ over ‘metaphorical’space.  Space seen as performative.Bodily performances produces space.

Edward Said: All texts must be worlded, located in the world and exposed for the geographical imaginations from which they arise. Analysis of politics of cultural representation. Travel writing: creation of geographies of empire. Spatial sensitivity. Neglected gender for the most part of his framework.

David Sibley: Research of socio-spatial exclusionary processes, Maybe to maintain  cleanliness and purity (infancy). He draws on psychoanalysis : boundary making and spatia transgression through object relations theory.

Edward Soja:Centrality of Space in the constitution of society: 1. Capitalist society privileges space over time, 2. Spatiality is constitutive of social life, Space must be taken seriously to make sense of society. Space plus time plus social being. Third space is the privileged space of analysis.

Gayatri Spivak: Representations do not just describe reality, they are constitutive of it.  Western feminisms have not seen the differences between women. Offesr some pathways o the recoveryof subaltern agency. Criticized for obscurantism, respondet there is nothing outside the text. Deals with postcolonial complicities.

Nigel Thrift:
Interest in time and space, time socially constructed: rhythms of everyday life , regional geography,  Relations: among bodies and individuals, power and knowledge  and globalized exchanges of human, symbolic and financial capital. Flows of information ad knowledge that shape individuals’ conception of themselves  and play a major role in the routinal reproduction of social relations.  Geographies are produced in prediscursive practical ways. Local uniqueness maters: no social process unfolds in the same way in different places. Interest for the time and space compression of digital globalization. Non represetational theory of action that stresses performative embodied knowledges.  Human beings embedded in networks of power and knowledge construct global fluxes and connections and change the  fluid structures. Fluidity of spatial relations, contingent, ever changing.

Paul Virilo: Relationships among war and space , between military and urban perception. Undesrtanding conflict in aesthetic (perceptual) terms. Centrality of startegies of deception. Impact of technologies in geography. Technologies as prostheses – appearances . Reality usurped by reality effects. Spped and Slowness? attack. War machine  speed.

Raymond Williams: Place andclass . Widely used in geography. Blind to gender in many cases.

Key thinkers on Space and Place 3

bell Hooks: Black studies. Has theorized about Identity and about the margin  not as an opposite to the centre. From becoming objects to subjects. The margin can be a place of resistance and creativity. Eventhough the home space has been criticized as patriarchal by many feminists, she saw in a black home, notwithstandng its patriarchal influences a safe place for learning and community. The concepts of identity, margin and the home place are neccesarily linked to space and place. The spatialization of difference is key to Hooks.  There is a complex potential in hook’s black feminist spaces.  hooks has been framed within the “Spatial Turn”  creating from difference new sites of struggle and the construction of interconnected communities of resistance. The production of space is for her simultaneously material, subjective, empowering and unjust, but it also implies how multiple subaltern geographical knowledges open up new and diverse spaced for consideration.  The problem is that hooks has shadowed the rest of the black intellectuals.

Peter Jackson: Issues of identity, race, masculinities. Etnicity is a construct. Maps of meaning. Has been criticized? maps are reifying. has accepted the criticism.

Bruno Latour:
trying to bridge the gap between social sciences and science. In describing how actor-networks are gradually extended, stabilized and some times collapsed, he radically shifts away from a Euclidean concept of space and time as universal abstract axes that contain and constrain events . For him, as for other researches in the ACTOR NETWORK THEORY, space and time come about as  consequences of the ways in which particular heterogeneous materials are related to one another. the term “topologica” is therefore used to capture this sense of space as being made out of relations between its parts.
Attribution of social agency to “actants” that can be non human or human.
Latour pursues impure entities that have characteristics of structure and agency. they are actors and networks or actor-networks. It is in the concern with how different assemblies of actants can connect up that Latourian spaces are often called “topological”.  

Henri Lefebvre: Everyday life, the social production of space. everydayness as a soul destroying feature of modernity, social interaction and the material  environment. He proposes to seize and act on the moments of revelation, emotional clarity and self presence as the basis for becoming more self-fulfilled.
Colaborated in the Situationniste International.

The production of space -space is cultural and has a history of change.  Geographical space as fundamentally social. Rigths of individuals and communities to space. three aspects of space under which Lefebvre analyses it:  The perceived: blends popular action and outlook but is often ignored in the professional, and theoretical conceived space  of cartographers, urban planners or property speculators. The fully human person dwells in a lived space of the imagination which has been kept alive by arts and literature.  This third space not only transcends, but has the power to refigure the balance of popular perceived space and official conceived space.
Lefebvre cites the work of dadaists and surrealists who challenge the taken for granted notions of space. In this measure the practices of squatters, illegal dwellers, etc are also challenging.

Lefebvre’s thesis against space as one part of production exchange or accumulation as castells.In addition, Lefebvre argues that space is fourth and determining realm of social relations.

Early bridge from Marxism to the formative positions of the German Green Party .

criticism? heterosexual approach, blindness to gender limit the usefulness of his theories for deminists and theorists of the body.  Though Soja suggests links between bell hooks and Lefebvre.

Lefebvre has little to say on multiculturalism or discrimination or on insiders and outsiders.

However, Lefebvre went beyond in the conceptualization of space in many ways: he did not consider that people and things are merely in space.

People think of themselves in spatialized terms imagining themselves as an ego in a body. People extend themselves physically and mentally in space  as a spider extends its limbs in form of a web. We become part pf these extensions as they are of us.  Arrangements of objects, work teams, landscapes and architecture are the concrete instances of this spatialization.

Lefebvre uses the changing types of historical space to explain why capitalistic accumulation did not occur earlier.
Space, according to Lefebvre is a product and a medium.

Key Thinkers part 2

Gilles Deleuze: his radicalism consists  of problematizing the world and thereby opening the possibility that somethink different might happen. Philosophy is not critical, it is creative.  the Surface ceases to be negative and inferior, it actually comes to take all.
vertical axis of hierarchy : illusion of order; horizontal axis: always open to differentiation, instability and transformation.  Nothing is fixed in place.

philosophers responsible for creating concepts, not in general, but situated concepts.  contextualized concepts.  concepts as territories and events. Philosophy as an event.  Thought is always encountered.
Event: Meanwhile, Meantime, becoming multiple. Space does not consist of points, but of folds. An event is never simply present, but it is not all lacking.  An event is as much virtual as it is actual.

geography: maps, planes, surfaces, strata, spaces, territories, transversals. Deterritorialized terms . concepts must be invented, fabricated.

Transformation and shape shifting. Encounter everything as if for the firs time as Paul Auster says.
Non-representational philosophy.
Thinking space in its own right, not an abstract space for thought, but a concrete space for thought: an honest to goodness thinking space . Space teems with life and is itself alive. Become sensitive to the vivacity of space .

Arturo Escobar:

Post Development theory. Development as a dominant discourse, counter discourses obliged to answer in the same ways. It is a more subtle form of colonization. Culture is tied to space and local cultures matter. Discourse should be payed attention to. Criticized by materialist currents which say capitalist is what is causing this and also because he doesn’t propose a solution to the problems he is posing, but he answers that it is up to the local cultures to look for their own alternatives.

Michel Foucault:

Space and Power. How do space and power interact? (surveiller et punir ex, panopticon et reformatoire sans murs).

Stewart Hall: Focus on diaspora (place).

Donna Haraway: Dissolves binaries. esp. culture and nature and materiality and semiotics. Uses the metaphor of the cyborg to show the ever forging identities? which can not be fixed and the relationship between the human and the nonhuman and with technology
She also states that all knowledge is partial and local. And these shared partial knowledges would never constitute a total knowledge. Knowledge must be situated (visual sense).

David Harvey: marxist geographer. Capitalism impinges on geography and viceversa. He was among the first to object to the definition of space as a mere container. For him, space has an effect on social life and social practices. He has been criticiyed for being a marxist, because the Zeitgeist has changed. He beliefs Space and Place can be theorized and not only analyzed empirically, for there is a logic underneath and it is the task of academics to uncover it. He has been criticized for this view as well.

Geographical imagination? to think how the local people are affected by unseen actions of other people in other parts of the world. 

Key Thinkers on Space and Place. Hubbard, Kitchin and Valentine (eds.). London: Sage.2005

chosen by me:

Benedict Anderson, Jean Baudrillard, Zygmunt Bauman, Homi K. Bhabha, Pierre Bourdieu, Judith Butler, Manuel Castells, Denis Cosgrove, Gilles Deleuze, Arturo Escobar, Michel Foucault, Stuart Hall, Donna Haraway, David Harvey, bell Hooks, Bruno Latour, Henri Lefebvre, Doreeb Massey, Gillian Rose, Edward W Said, David Sibley, Edward Soja, Gayatri Spivak, Nigel Thrift, Paul Virilio, Raymond Williams.

Some words in the Introduction:
Henri Lefebvre: No absolute space because at the moment it is colonized through social activity. Relativized and historicized. Every society and mode of production produces its own space.
Trialectics of spatiality which explores the differential entwining of cultural practices, representations and imaginations.
Perceived, conceived and lived space (Ed. Soja) Acts of naming, activities and imaginations.

Thrift (2003) Place, embodiment: Multisensory experience of place. Cognitive amd physical performances, not adequately registered through language and discourse – Non representational Theory.
Place- Rhythm

Doreen Massey: Progressive sense of Place Locus: complex intersections and outcomes of power. Body to global.  
Place: relational and contingent. Experienced and understood differently by different people: Multiple, contested, fluid and uncertain.

Landscape: Dennis Cosgrove. Gillian Rose: Gendering of space and place.
Raymond Williams : Spatialized Language.
Spatial Metaphors
Spaces: Part real. part fantasy (David Sibley)
David Harvey: How we experience and represent time and place.

Benedict Anderson: Nation, Nationality Identity.

Jean Baudrillard:  exposé of the murder of reality by its own hand.  The distinction between appearance and reality dissolves in the opposite direction, in the direction of hyperreality.

Zygmunt Bauman: Postmodernity – liquid modernity . The body has become the last shelter and sanctuary of continuity and duration. One can no longer count on things staying in place or continuing to be the way they are. It makes little senses to behave with commitment, loyalty or any other permanence evoking way.

The Stranger. Proliferation of strangers. Stranger: ambuvalent boundary straddling character all efforts of cognitive spacing in vain.
Cognitive spacing: modernity’s desire to master space.
Everybody is the other.
Moral space is hardly conmesurate with cognitive space (supression of responsibility) Aesthetic space also inhospitable to moral sensibilities.  Yet there is always hope for morality.  Being with others opens up a possibility for the ethically prior mode of being for others. The construction of space of moral responsibility is never guaranteed yet it happens daily and repeatedly.

Globalization and Glocalization. Restratification of Society based on freedom of movement . Glocalization polarizes modernity or polarizes society in terms of differential mobility: “Some inhabit the globe, others are chained to place”. New dimension of deprivation.

Homi K. Bhabha: proposed that colonizers’ stereotypes of the colonized where characterized by ambivalence: they were a form of knowledge and identification that vacillates that vacillates between what is always in place, already known and something that must be anxiously repeated . Stereotypes: authority of colonial discourse and the limits of this authority. To fix the colonized through a series of characterizations (lazy african) that were repeated a lot, showing that there was no fixity.
Bhabha found subversive potential in the verses of Naipaul. He claimed that the mimic men (the colonized) represent a paradox at the heart of the colonial mission: colonizer’s whish to europeanize the colonized  and fear that they might become too much alike. Mimicry : to make the colonized alike to the colonizer but not quite.  Colonized confronted with an uncanny version of himself.  Potential to dislodge the  very authenticity assumed by the European and to undermine its originality.

For Bhabha the colonized is a disturbance to the European’s dream of authority and authenticity.

Discourses about the Other become fractured at a point and these fractures allow resistance and countering. Politival implications of this resistance?
Colonizer ambivalent figure, as the colonized.  Ambiguous process in which the legacy is both refused and desired.

Bhabha deplored the binary thinking: blinds complex dynamics of negotiation through which displaced populations make sense of their lives across contesting cultural values and traditions.
Process of cultural translation.

Rejectiion of vocabulary such as the first and third world.
Identities are hybridized , rupturing of boundaries ç the inçbetween, cultural translation and third space to signify this liminality. Non synonimous terms . Attemps to problematize.

Criticism because of the generalization of the third space.

Pierre Bourdieu:
structuring of time and space in relation to capitalism or non capitalist time and place. Works about Algeria. Habitus.
Thrift takes his insiration from Bourdieu’s definition of practice as a going on in the worls. Practice according to Thrift can never be totally represented.

The importance of the Body.

Judith Buttler:
She herself has little to say about space and place, her ideas acout performativity have been influential.  Her notion of Performativity has been recast to theorize the concept of space.

Gender Touble? challenges the notion that masculine and feminine gender identities correspond with male and female bodies.
Moreover, she argues that the 2 sexes themselves are also social constructions  so that there is nothing natural about sex definitions.

Draws on J. L Austin. Gender is merely an inscription of discursive imperatives , we open the possibility of displacing dominant discurses.

Relationship between performativity and the material bodyç challenge to the boundaries of discursive intelligibuility .
Performativity is not a single or even deliberate act , but rather the reiterative and citational practice by which discourse produces the effects that it names (1993)

The idea of gender as performative act has challenged traditional thinking.

The sexed body as it is lived and spatially constituted. The body is becoming a preoccupation of the geographical literature.
J Cream (1995) in Resolving Riddles:  The Sexed Body has used Buttler to think about how gender is inscribed on the space of the body.

In the inaugural  issue of the feminist journal Gender, Place and Culture, Bell et al (1994), Butler’s understanding that there is a potential for transgressive politics within the parodying of heterosexual constructs. I.e. lipstick. Instead of thinking of place and space as pre existing sites, these studies have argued that bodily  performances themselves constitute or reproduce space.

Butler criticized because of not touching the issues of race and because of lack of connection between life and academia.

Other Sources to look at:

Brown M (2000) Closet Space. Geographers of Metaphor From the Body to the Globe.
Gregson N and Rose G . Taking Butler Elsewhere…

Manuel Castells:

Space: Material support of timeçsharing social practices (2002. Urban Sociology for the 21st Century. The Castells reader on cities and social Theory). Timeless time in tension with chronological time and Space of flows in tension with the space of spaces.


Denis Cosgrove:

Problematization of  the term landscape:

space and place: way of seeing. Europeans have represented to themselves and to others the world about them  and their relationship with it.

Landscape is not an unproblematic concept.

Concern with representation and mapping.