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Organization, Regulations, and Courses 2022-23

MES 10.10 Soundscapes of the Middle East

In recent years, scholars have started to question the conspicuous “silence” pervading many academic works that privilege one sense – sight – to the detriment of all others. This seminar builds upon these long overdue efforts by critically engaging the writings of historians, anthropologists, ethnomusicologists, and media experts with the aim of uncovering how the study of sound may radically enrich our understanding of the modern Middle East. Beginning with an overview of sound studies, we will consider where multi-sensory scholarship on North Africa, the Levant, and the Gulf fits into this burgeoning field of inquiry. After situating the Middle East within a body of literature that is at once innovative and highly interdisciplinary, we will then shift to exploring several key themes, including religion, popular culture, mass media, gender, space, and the environment, in relation to the region’s soundscapes. We will listen to audiocassette sermons in Egypt, jazz in Istanbul, and the din of warfare in Iraq, among many other acoustic items, to gain a greater appreciation for the centrality of sound in people’s everyday lives and its significance in the domain of Middle Eastern studies.



Cross Listed Courses


Degree Requirement Attributes

Dist:INT or ART; WCult:NW

The Timetable of Class Meetings contains the most up-to-date information about a course. It includes not only the meeting time and instructor, but also its official distributive and/or world culture designation. This information supersedes any information you may see elsewhere, to include what may appear in this ORC/Catalog or on a department/program website. Note that course attributes may change term to term therefore those in effect are those (only) during the term in which you enroll in the course.