2023-24 Thematic Series

Sound Silence Power

Attending to sound opens up myriad potentialities. While, historically, silence has been wielded as an instrument of oppression, and listening practices have served to categorize acoustic expressions into hierarchical binaries–sound/noise, melody/racket, speech/babel, human voice/animal howl–recent scholars, practitioners, and ordinary people have become attuned to the ways in which sound and listening may prove a potent source of empowerment, resistance, and care. This series attended to the decolonizing and disruptive potential of sound in its many manifestations. Through a speaker series with some of the most dynamic thinkers in humanistic sound studies, as well as reading groups and a capstone symposium, participants were invited to note the entanglement of sound, silence, and power in our everyday lives, politics, and dwelling.

Invited speakers explored the potentialities of sound from a diversity of disciplinary perspectives, including Black Studies, Indigenous Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, More-than-Human Geographies, Transpacific Studies, Decolonial Studies, and Disability Studies.

Events in the Series

FALL 2023


  • January 15, “Sonic Care Listening Group.” Facilitated by Anna Navarro (MA English)
  • January 25: Prof. Casey Mecija, York University. “Sounds That Mark Our Words: Sonic Agencies & Intimacies in Filipinx Diaspora.”
    • Don’t miss the January 15 pre-lecture listening group (like a reading group for the ears!) on Mecija’s creative work.
  • February 29: Prof. Tamara Mitchell, UBC. “Sound Unseen: Auscultating Gender Violence in Mexican Fiction”
  • April 17, 5-6:30PM: Prof. Jonathan Sterne, McGill University. Unfortunately, the Jonathan Sterne event had to be postponed due to personal circumstances. We look forward to hosting Prof. Sterne in 2025-2026!

Co-convened by Tamara Mitchell (FHIS) and Rosanne Sia (GRSJ), the Sound Silence Power thematic series is held in collaboration with Green College, whose support we are grateful for. We also thank the ongoing support of the Public Humanities Hub and the UBC Faculty of Arts. Finally, we are grateful to the UBC Faculty Leads on each event: Duncan McHugh (Land & Food Systems), Kimberly Bain (English), Kim Beauchesne (FHIS), and Rosanne Sia (GRSJ), respectively.