Reading Response #6

Daniel Sterne’s conceptualization of sounds studies as inherently interdisciplinary broadens the field and works to break down the divisions inherent to academic fields. Within colleges and universities, academic fields are separated into departments that are always in competition for resources, space, and funding due to capitalism. Thus it is critical for interdisciplinary fields to create ties between different areas of study. Any given topic can be approached from a variety of angles, thus to minimize bias and create a more comprehensive understanding, the topic must be studied within multiple disciplines. This ties into the idea of listening, and recognizing how one’s own position (and by extension our experiences) impacts how we perceive and interpret a given sound.

Additionally, it is critical to recognize how patriarchy, white supremacy, and other forms of oppression are built into technology and different fields of study. In Tara Rodgers’ Cultivating Activist Lives in Sound she explains how this is partially why it is difficult to achieve social progress. New innovations, such as Occupy Wall Street’s human microphone are necessary for people to resist and disrupt existing power structures. Like sound waves, activism has a ripple effect that quickly spreads to reach larger audiences. Social platforms such as Twitter and Facebook make it so that a single voice can reach millions of people. Yet these platforms, and the general structure of the Internet rests on the often unpaid labor of many artists and content creators. While the arts are chronically underfunded and under supported, these corporations make billions of dollars.

While Rodgers encourages us to make changes on an individual level, such as supporting our local artists, we must also recognize that the source is capitalism. Thus we must focus our efforts on dismantling capitalism in addition to smaller acts within our own communities.