Open Access (free)
Henry David Thoreau
David Herd

1 Sounding: Henry David Thoreau We know what Thoreau meant by Walden, or at least, we know what he meant for it to do. We know because he told us, on the title page of his book, where by way of an epigraph he quoted himself: I do not propose to write an ode to dejection, but to brag as lustily as chanticleer in the morning, standing on his roost, if only to wake my neighbors up.1 So that’s clear then. In fact, Thoreau could be hardly be clearer. What could be clearer after all, as he amplifies later in the chapter called ‘Sounds’, than a cockerel crowing clear

in Enthusiast!
Catherine Laws

10 Beckett and unheard sound Catherine Laws The prospect of silence Beckett’s work has often been perceived as pushing towards its own obliteration, ever closer to the silencing of the voice. His ‘characters’ – though hardly that – with decaying, almost useless bodies, situated in barren environments, steadily insist that there is nothing to say and no possibility of knowledge or understanding, while (and by) fizzling on with their increasingly broken, empty, repetitive, hopeless – and often very funny – narratives of their very attempts to tell meaningful

in Beckett and nothing
Open Access (free)
Music-making as creative intervention
Nicola Scaldaferri

This chapter is centred on my research into sound identities and musical practices in Basilicata, which started at the end of the 1980s. Ever since, I have used performing music as a form of research by way of active participation as a musician in the local scene. Performance-based research has a long history within ethnomusicology (Cottrell 2007 ). One of its most famous formulations is found in the concept of bimusicality proposed by Mantle Hood, who considered musical practice a privileged way to approach a foreign musical culture ( 1960 ). As a native

in Sonic ethnography
Open Access (free)
Ethnicity and popular music in British cultural studies
Sean Campbell

7 Sounding out the margins: ethnicity and popular music in British cultural studies SEAN CAMPBELL Introduction In their discussion of the development of British cultural studies,1 Jon Stratton and Ien Ang point out that the ‘energizing impulse’ of the field has ‘historically … lain in [a] critical concern with, and validation of, the subordinate, the marginalized [and] the subaltern within Britain’ (1996: 376). Accordingly, many of the field’s principal practitioners have paid a considerable amount of attention to questions of ‘race’2 and ethnicity in post

in Across the margins
The revival of Lucanian wheat festivals
Lorenzo Ferrarini

anthropology in Basilicata (see chapter 7 ). In combination with the accompanying texts and sounds, the aim of these images is to evoke the manner in which, with varying degrees of consciousness, people in contemporary Basilicata perform cultural heritage at the same time as performing acts of religious devotion. As is evident throughout the associated sound-chapter, music is ever present at wheat festivals, and many of the offerings dance with their carriers to the sound of tarantelle . Dancing with the wheat offerings is a form of sonic devotion not unlike those

in Sonic ethnography
Open Access (free)
Identity, heritage and creative research practice in Basilicata, southern Italy

Sonic ethnography explores the role of sound-making and listening practices in the formation of local identities in the southern Italian region of Basilicata. The book uses a combination of text, photography and sound recording to investigate soundful cultural performances such as tree rituals, carnivals, pilgrimages, events promoting cultural heritage and more informal musical performances. Its approach demonstrates how in the acoustic domain tradition is made and disrupted, power struggles take place and acoustic communities are momentarily brought together in shared temporality and space. This book underlines how an attention to sound-making, recording and listening practices can bring innovative contributions to the ethnography of an area that has been studied by Italian and foreign scholars since the 1950s. The approaches of the classic anthropological scholarship on the region have become one of the forces at play in a complex field where discourses on a traditional past, politics of heritage and transnational diasporic communities interact. The book’s argument is carried forward not just by textual means, but also through the inclusion of six ‘sound-chapters’, that is, compositions of sound recordings themed so as to interact with the topic of the corresponding textual chapter, and through a large number of colour photographs. Two methodological chapters, respectively about doing research in sound and on photo-ethnography, explain the authors’ approach to field research and to the making of the book.

Open Access (free)
James Baldwin, William F. Buckley, Jr., and the Civil Rights Revolution
Nicholas Buccola

Born in New York City only fifteen months apart, the Harlem-raised James Baldwin and the privileged William F. Buckley, Jr. could not have been more different, but they both rose to the height of American intellectual life during the civil rights movement. By the time they met in February 1965 to debate race and the American Dream at the Cambridge Union, Buckley—a founding father of the American conservative movement—was determined to sound the alarm about a man he considered an “eloquent menace.” For his part, Baldwin viewed Buckley as a deluded reactionary whose popularity revealed the sickness of the American soul. The stage was set for an epic confrontation that pitted Baldwin’s call for a moral revolution in race relations against Buckley’s unabashed elitism and implicit commitment to white supremacy. In this article I introduce readers to the story at the heart of my new book about Baldwin and Buckley, The Fire Is Upon Us.

James Baldwin Review
Open Access (free)
The Tyranny of the Cityscape in James Baldwin’s Intimate Cartographies
Emma Cleary

The skyline of New York projects a dominant presence in the works of James Baldwin—even those set elsewhere. This essay analyzes the socio-spatial relationships and cognitive maps delineated in Baldwin’s writing, and suggests that some of the most compelling and intense portrayals of New York’s psychogeographic landscape vibrate Baldwin’s text. In The Price of the Ticket (1985), Baldwin’s highly personalized accounts of growing up in Harlem and living in New York map the socio-spatial relationships at play in domestic, street, and blended urban spaces, particularly in the title essay, “Dark Days,” and “Here Be Dragons.” Baldwin’s third novel, Another Country (1962), outlines a multistriated vision of New York City; its occupants traverse the cold urban territory and struggle beneath the jagged silhouette of skyscrapers. This essay examines the ways in which Baldwin composes the urban scene in these works through complex image schemas and intricate geometries, the city’s levels, planes, and perspectives directing the movements of its citizens. Further, I argue that Baldwin’s dynamic use of visual rhythms, light, and sound in his depiction of black life in the city, creates a vivid cartography of New York’s psychogeographic terrain. This essay connects Baldwin’s mappings of Harlem to an imbricated visual and sonic conception of urban subjectivity, that is, how the subject is constructed through a simultaneous and synaesthetic visual/scopic and aural/sonic relation to the city, with a focus on the movement of the body through city space.

James Baldwin Review
Open Access (free)
Space and the Speculative in James Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues”
Maleda Belilgne

In a 1961 interview with the journalist Studs Terkel, James Baldwin offered a riveting assessment of Bessie Smith’s “Backwater Blues.” “It’s a fantastic kind of understatement,” Baldwin tells Terkel. “It’s the way I want to write.” Baldwin hears something in Bessie, a sonic and discursive quality he aspires to and identifies as “fantastic.” This essay considers the speculative undertones of Bessie’s blues and Baldwin’s literary realism. I argue that Bessie’s doubled vocalization in “Backwater Blues” lyrically declares her immobility and circumscription, while tonally staging freedom and boundlessness. Baldwin is drawn to this dual orientation and enunciation, a vocalization that in its iteration of the real transcends the social, spatial, and imaginative limitations of that order. If we read “Sonny’s Blues” the way Baldwin hears Bessie, as a fantastic kind of understatement, we discern subtle sonic and spatial iterations of the irreal. Attending to microtonal sounds in “Sonny’s Blues”—screams, whistling, jukeboxes—I show that the speculative emerges in Baldwin’s story when the sonic overrides the racialized inscription of space.

James Baldwin Review
James Baldwin and Melanie Klein in the Context of Black Lives Matter
David W McIvor

Recent killings of unarmed black citizens are a fresh reminder of the troubled state of racial integration in the United States. At the same time, the unfolding Black Lives Matter protest movements and the responses by federal agencies each testify to a not insignificant capacity for addressing social pathologies surrounding the color line. In order to respond to this ambivalent situation, this article suggests a pairing between the work of James Baldwin and that of the psychoanalyst Melanie Klein. I will argue that we cannot fully appreciate the depths of what Baldwin called the “savage paradox” of race without the insights provided by Klein and object relations psychoanalysis. Conversely, Baldwin helps us to sound out the political significance of object relations approaches, including the work of Klein and those influenced by her such as Hanna Segal and Wilfred Bion. In conversation with the work of Baldwin, object relations theory can help to identify particular social settings and institutions that might allow concrete efforts toward racial justice to take root.

James Baldwin Review