Ears Racing


This episode, we talk with Jennifer Lynn Stoever–editor of the influential sound studies blog Sounding Out!–about her new book, The Sonic Color Line: Race and the Cultural Politics of Listening (NYU Press, 2016). We tend to think of race and racism as visual phenomena, but Stoever challenges white listeners to examine how racism can infect our ears, altering the sound of the world and other people. We discuss the history of American prejudicial listening since slavery and learn how African American writers and musicians have pushed back against this invisible “sonic color line.”

Works discussed include Richard Wright’s Native Son and music by Huddie Ledbetter (Lead Belly), Fishbone, and Lena Horne.

Additional music by Graeme Gibson and Blue the Fifth.

Your Host

Mack Hagood

Mack Hagood is the Robert H. and Nancy J. Blayney Associate Professor of Comparative Media Studies at Miami University, Ohio, where he studies digital media, sound technologies, disability, and popular music.

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