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December 7, 2017, from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm

The Amplitude of Violence, and Timbre of the Wound

Event Information

A lecture by Professor J. Martin Daughtry (NYU)


The sounds of armed combat—from the soft whispers of bullets displacing air downrange to the deafening cacophony of “Shock and Awe” operations—place intense demands on wartime listeners. Such sounds often appear to fuse with the aggressive acts that produce them, creating new sensory objects that are at once indexes and manifestations of violence. What kinds of listening practices arise in response to these objects? What persistent traumas do they create? How does listening relate to survival and sanity in wartime? Drawing on ethnographic work with Iraqi civilians and US military service members, this lecture addresses these and other questions within the context of Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003-11).

J. Martin Daughtry is an associate professor of music at New York University. He teaches and writes on acoustic violence; human and nonhuman vocality; listening; jazz; Russian-language sung poetry; sound studies; and the auditory imagination. His monograph, Listening to War: Sound, Music, Trauma, and Survival in Wartime Iraq (Oxford 2015) received a PROSE Award from the Association of American Publishers and the Alan Merriam Prize from the Society for Ethnomusicology. He is currently writing a book on voice and atmosphere in the anthropocene.
Sponsored by: The EH department and the Music Program.