Cookie Consent by FreePrivacyPolicy.com
Skip to main navigation menu Skip to main content Skip to site footer

Research Articles

Vol. 1 No. 2 (2020): Soundscapes, Sonic Cultures, and American Studies

Sonic Others in Early Sound Studies and the Poetry of Edward Sapir: A Salvage Operation

  • Elisabeth A. Reichel
DOI
https://doi.org/10.47060/jaaas.v1i2.57
Submitted
May 2, 2019
Published
2020-12-30

Abstract

Characteristically, early research in soundscapes is suffused with a sense of sonophilia; that is, a fascination with auditory perception and sound as the inferiorized Other of sight. Soundscape scholars have thus often conceived of their work as a salvage operation, which is conducted to save what would otherwise be irretrievably lost to a visual regime. This moral impetus to redeem the "sonic Other" is at the center of this article, in which I investigate how notions of sonic alterity interweave with treatments of social and cultural alterity. To explore and interrogate the nexus of social, cultural, and sonic alterity for its political and ethical ramifications, I analyze the acoustics of the poetry of Edward Sapir. Sapir played a key role in the formation of cultural anthropology and the early development of linguistic anthropology. What is far less known is that he is also the author of over six hundred poems, some of which were published in such renowned magazines as Poetry and The Dial. Focusing on the poems "To a Street Violinist" and "Harvest," I probe the dynamics of an anthropo-literary project that sets out to salvage both non-visual sense perceptions and other-than-modern, Western ways of life.

References

  1. Benedict, Ruth. "Edward Sapir." In Edward Sapir: Critical Assessments of Leading Linguists, vol. 1, edited by E. F. K. Koerner, 42-45. London: Routledge, 2007.
  2. Bijsterveld, Karin. Mechanical Sound: Technology, Culture and Public Problems of Noise in the Twentieth Century. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2008.
  3. Birdsall, Carolyn. Nazi Soundscapes: Sound, Technology and Urban Space in Germany, 1933–1945. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2012.
  4. Boas, Franz. "On Alternating Sounds." American Anthropologist 2, no. 1 (1889): 47-54. https://doi.org/10.1525/aa.1889.2.1.02a00040.
  5. Carpenter, Brian, "'An Inner Striving': An Overview of Edward Sapir's Poetry Papers." Paideuma 41 (2014): 197-217.
  6. Fabian, Johannes. Time and the Other: How Anthropology Makes Its Object. New York: Columbia University Press, 2014.
  7. Handler, Richard. Critics against Culture: Anthropological Observers of Mass Society. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2005.
  8. Handler, Richard, "The Dainty and the Hungry Man: Literature and Anthropology in the Work of Edward Sapir." In Edward Sapir: Critical Assessments of Leading Linguists, vol. 3, edited by E. F. K. Koerner, 289-311. London: Routledge, 2007.
  9. Handler, Richard. "Introduction to Sections Four and Five: Edward Sapir's Aesthetic and Cultural Criticism." In Culture, edited by Regna Darnell, Richard Handler, and Judith T. Irvine, 731-47. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 1999.
  10. Handler, Richard. "Sapir's Poetic Experience." American Anthropologist 86, no. 2 (1984): 416-17. https://doi.org/10.1525/aa.1984.86.2.02a00240.
  11. Hendy, David. Noise: A Human History of Sound and Listening. London: Profile Books, 2013.
  12. Hochman, Brian. Savage Preservation: The Ethnographic Origins of Modern Media Technology. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2014.
  13. Kroeber, Alfred Louis. "Reflections on Edward Sapir, Scholar and Man." In Edward Sapir: Critical Assessments of Leading Linguists, vol. 1, edited by E. F. K. Koerner, 170-78. London: Routledge, 2007.
  14. Mansell, James G. The Age of Noise in Britain: Hearing Modernity. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2017.
  15. McLuhan, Marshall. "Playboy Interview: A Candid Conversation with the High Priest of Popcult and Metaphysician of Media." Interview by Eric Norden. In Essential McLuhan, edited by Eric McLuhan and Frank Zingrone, 233-59. New York: Basic Books, 1995.
  16. Murray, Stephen O., and Wayne Dynes. "Edward Sapir's Coursework in Linguistics and Anthropology." In Edward Sapir: Critical Assessments of Leading Linguists, vol. 1, edited by E. F. K. Koerner, 106-09. London: Routledge, 2007.
  17. Reichel, A. Elisabeth. "Sonophilia / Sonophobia: Sonic Others in the Poetry of Edward Sapir." In Literature, Ethics, Morality: American Studies Perspectives, edited by Ridvan Askin and Philipp Schweighauser, 215-29. Tübingen: Gunter Narr Verlag, 2015.
  18. Sapir, Edward. "The Harvest." The Nation (June 19, 1920): 825.
  19. Sapir, Edward. "Herder's 'Ursprung der Sprache.'" Modern Philology 5, no. 1 (1907): 109-42.
  20. Sapir, Edward. "To a Street Violinist." August 7, 1917. TS. Edward Sapir Papers. American Philosophical Society. Philadelphia, PA.
  21. Schafer, R. Murray. The Book of Noise. Indian River, ON: Arcana Editions, 1998.
  22. Schafer, R. Murray. The Soundscape: Our Sonic Environment and the Tuning of the World. Rochester, VT: Destiny Books, 1994.
  23. Schweighauser, Philipp. "Literary Acoustics." In Handbook of Intermediality: Literature—Image—Sound—Music, edited by Gabriele Rippl, 475-93. Berlin: de Gruyter, 2015.
  24. Schweighauser, Philipp. The Noises of American Literature, 1890–1985: Toward a History of Literary Acoustics. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2006.
  25. Simmel, Georg. "The Metropolis and Mental Life." In The Urban Sociology Reader, edited by Jan Lin and Christopher Mele, 23-31. London: Routledge, 2013.
  26. Smith, Mark M. Listening to Nineteenth-Century America. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2001.
  27. Sterne, Jonathan. "The Theology of Sound: A Critique of Orality." Canadian Journal of Communication 36, no. 2 (2011): 207-225. https://doi.org/10.22230/cjc.2011v36n2a2223.
  28. Stocking, Jr., George W. "From Physics to Ethnology." In Race, Culture, and Evolution: Essays in the History of Anthropology, edited by George W. Stocking, Jr., 133-66. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982.
  29. Thompson, Emily. The Soundscape of Modernity: Architectural Acoustics and the Culture of Listening in America, 1900–1933. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2002.

Metrics

Metrics Loading ...