Western cultures are considered to be predominantly visual. Despite the fact that human beings develop the capacity to hear in the womb before the capacity to see, our belief in a visually dominated culture prevails. Sounds and orality are often subjugated to the visual, to images and the written word. Yet the experience of everyday life is increasingly mediated by a multitude of (mechanically reproduced) sounds.

Point of departure in this course will be that close attention to aural practices will provide crucial insights while investigating issues of cultural history and analysis. People always also relate to each other through the sense of hearing. Considering the suggested primacy of sound as a modality of knowing and being in the world, the home territory of Auditory Culture studies will be the space between the arts, society and science.

In Auditory Culture 1, emphasis will be on sounds in the city. In addition to a close reading of relevant and recent texts, students are invited on a sound walk and prompted to invent new soundscapes for their own environment.

Authors discussed: R. Murray Schafer, Karin Bijsterveld, Michael Bull, Jonathan Sterne, Alain Corbin, Les Back, Jean-Paul Thibaud, Bruce Smith, Caroline Basset, and others.