Acoustic Ethnography of the Yangtze Delta

Acoustic Ethnography of the Yangtze Delta

We live in a world immersed in sound yet we rarely attend to how sound can reflect our social structure or reveal cultural meaning. This course introduces students to acoustic ethnography, soundscape studies and narrative, non-narrative audio storytelling. We will gather and analyze the acoustic environment of China, using recorded sounds to create ethnography through text and sound. Ethnography (literally, “culture-writing”) is both the act of gathering data about culture through observation and interviews as well as the practice of writing analytically about cultural difference. Visual ethnography incorporates the analysis of visual and material aspects of our social environment into creative, multimedia rich projects. With an ethnographic approach to sound, we will document the rich tapestry of sounds around us in the context of the Yangtze River Delta region and think about how this conveys China’s culture, society and history.