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Sound Knowledges of the Black World

This project investigates sound knowledges from Southern African cosmologies and investigate their deployment in black radicalism enacted within Pan-African and black internationalist contexts in the 20th and 21st centuries. It seeks to surface forms of being, knowing, and doing rooted/routed in acoustemologies or sound knowledges from Ntu cosmologies, and disseminated to the Black World in anti-colonial, decolonial, and Black liberatory contexts. Sound knowledges encompass what I call the scale of the sonic, from oral/aural traditions – indigenous languages, praise poetry, performance, dance, songs, riddles, mythologies, storytelling, dreamscape, rituals and ceremonies – to their evolution from rural to urban and internationalist contexts into worker’s songs, protests songs, political speeches, mbaqanga, spoken work poetry, blues, jazz and rap. The project is invested in the possibility of sound knowledges to surface Black women’s epistemes and resistance omitted from dominant historiographies. It mobilizes various texts – autobiographies, novels, liner notes and art from jazz records, political conferences, cultural festivals and photography – as sites of analyses. In attuning to the sonic textures of this world, it decenters the sensory perception of seeing/the ocular, and deploys the methodology of deeply listening/feeling into the presences of communities, living and nonliving, human and nonhuman, seen and unseen.


Fellows involved in this project

Iso Lomso Fellow, Iso Lomso visiting scholar
South Africa

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Is any information on this page incorrect or outdated? Please notify Ms. Nel-Mari Loock at [email protected].