Call for Papers, Projects, and Critical Media : "Queer the Noise" in Lateral
University of California, San Diego
CUNY Graduate Center
Guest Contributors : Jayna Brown and Jack Halberstam
Whether it’s the pulsating beat of an Adam Lambert track clearly audible on the sidewalk outside a gay club or the articulations of pleasure that travel through the bedroom walls to penetrate the neighbor’s apartment, sound has the capacity to destabilize boundaries, queer spaces, and reorient listeners’ bodies. As a disturbance that is primarily materialized through bodies, sound situates itself as a medium through which a body’s relationship to hetero-normative temporalities, socialities, and desires can be mediated, disrupted and transformed. At the same time, sound can also carry meaning. In a 2010 interview, Drew Daniel of Matmos argued, “Sound is itself queer.” Defining queerness as what exceeds values and top-down structures, Daniel argued that because sound exists apart from language (and language is how systems of value are structured and imposed), it allows for the expression of desires and subjectivities that are otherwise unthinkable or unspeakable.
But what is at stake in queering the sonic ? What can queer sounds do ? How could queer theory and queer studies help us to make sense of sound’s contradictory nature and embedded potentialities ? If we think about queerness as something that can be sounded, then what do we make of the force behind that sounding ? What forms of queer resistance does sound make possible ? And how do we understand the lingering silences ?
In high school science classes, students learn that sound, as a mechanical wave, cannot exist in a vacuum ; it needs a physical medium to traverse. Because sound is not an abstraction, the concrete conditions in which it is articulated shape its contours and saturate its meaning. Thus, to sound queerly as a working-class, queer-identified Chicana living in the borderlands is not the same as sounding queerly as a white lesbian bank manager living in an upscale Seattle suburb. How do the resonant spaces of racial, class, gender, national, geographic and bodily specificity shape the contours of sound—and, indeed, the conditions in which queers can sound—differently ? Moreover, can we hear continuities between struggles ? Colonial fears about the contagious passions transmitted in the sound of African drumming (and the attendant, failed attempts to police the sonic space of the plantation) seem to be connected to anxieties about hearing sexual noises outside the privacy of the bedroom. The broader history of aurally policing spaces suggests that sound has long been a primary site of contest between dominant formations of power and marginalized communities. Can we hear a queer timbre in those sonic skirmishes ?
In short, what becomes audible when we queer sound ?
Lateral is currently seeking submissions that critically reflect upon the intersections between the queer and the sonic. Submissions may be of any length and format. Because each issue of Lateral is custom designed and built around the issue’s content (rather than the other way around), we can include a broad range of multimedia and interactive texts. Although formal academic essays are welcome, we encourage contributors to experiment with alternative modes of presenting scholarly work. Alternative formats might include : manifestos, mashups, interviews, conversations between academics/activists/practitioners, aural texts, videos, visual art, games, web-based programs, or interactive graphics. Contributions should be submitted by email to both co-editors, Megan Turner (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Christina Nadler (Christina.Nadler@gmail.com), by August 24, 2013.
Possible topics include :
Queer rhythms, beats, and temporalities
Sound and/as queer ontology
Queer of color critique and sound studies
Queer potentialities in noise, glitch, distortion
Hearing as embodied experience
Listening, speaking, and bodily ability
Music as queer world-making
Sound in racialized and classed contexts
Sound, trauma, sexuality and desire
Histories of queer noise-making
Archiving queer voices
Queer consumption, fandom, dance
Sonic production of space as a queer space
Technologies of sonic (re)production
About Lateral :
Committed to imagining new forms of academic scholarship and challenging exclusionary definitions of what counts as "academic," Lateral is a peer-reviewed, multimodal, open-access online journal produced annually by the Cultural Studies Association (US). We publish critically-engaged media, games, conversations, mashups, manifestos, pedagogical tools and, of course, academic essays in order to spark transdisciplinary conversations between academics, activists, educators, makers and the general public. Each issue is organized topically around 3-4 research threads (each thread is essentially a miniature special issue). Whereas most academic journals publish a special issue once and then move on, a Lateral thread will return to the same topic for 2-3 years, allowing contributors to build upon, or respond to, the content in the previous issue’s thread. This format allows for longer-term conversations and collaborations that wouldn’t normally take place.
If you have any questions or your project is too large to submit by email, please contact Megan Turner (email@example.com) and Christina Nadler (Christina.Nadler@gmail.com).