Sound Objects

Duke University Press
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Is a sound an object, an experience, an event, or a relation? What exactly does the emerging discipline of sound studies study? Sound Objects pursues these questions while exploring how history, culture, and mediation entwine with sound’s elusive objectivity. Examining the genealogy and evolution of the concept of the sound object, the commodification of sound, acousmatic listening, nonhuman sounds, and sound and memory, the contributors not only probe conceptual issues that lie in the forefront of contemporary sonic discussions but also underscore auditory experience as fundamental to sound as a critical enterprise. In so doing, they offer exciting considerations of sound within and beyond its role in meaning, communication, and information and an illuminatingly original theoretical overview of the field of sound studies itself.

Contributors. Georgina Born, Michael Bull, Michel Chion, Rey Chow, John Dack, Veit Erlmann, Brian Kane, Jairo Moreno, John Mowitt, Pooja Rangan, Gavin Steingo, James A. Steintrager, Jonathan Sterne, David Toop
 
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About the author

James A. Steintrager is Professor of English, Comparative Literature, and European Languages and Studies at the University of California, Irvine.

Rey Chow is Anne Firor Scott Professor of Literature at Duke University.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Duke University Press
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Published on
Dec 6, 2018
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Pages
312
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ISBN
9781478002536
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Language
English
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Genres
Literary Criticism / Semiotics & Theory
Performing Arts / Film / History & Criticism
Social Science / Media Studies
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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What is the sentimental? How can we understand it by way of the visual and narrative modes of signification specific to cinema and through the manners of social interaction and collective imagining specific to a particular culture in transition? What can the sentimental tell us about the precarious foundations of human coexistence in this age of globalization?

Rey Chow explores these questions through nine contemporary Chinese directors (Chen Kaige, Wong Kar-wai, Zhang Yimou, Ann Hui, Peter Chan, Wayne Wang, Ang Lee, Li Yang, and Tsai Ming-liang) whose accomplishments have become historic events in world cinema. Approaching their works from multiple perspectives, including the question of origins, nostalgia, the everyday, feminine "psychic interiority," commodification, biopolitics, migration, education, homosexuality, kinship, and incest, and concluding with an account of the Chinese films' epistemic affinity with the Hollywood blockbuster Brokeback Mountain, Chow proposes that the sentimental is a discursive constellation traversing affect, time, identity, and social mores, a constellation whose contours tends to morph under different historical circumstances and in different genres and media. In contemporary Chinese films, she argues, the sentimental consistently takes the form not of revolution but of compromise, not of radical departure but of moderation, endurance, and accommodation. By naming these films sentimental fabulations screen artifacts of cultural becoming with irreducible aesthetic, conceptual, and speculative logics of their own Chow presents Chinese cinema first and foremost as an invitation to the pleasures and challenges of critical thinking.

In late-capitalist Western society, cross-ethnic cultural transactions are an inevitable daily routine. Yet, according to acclaimed cultural critic Rey Chow, the notion of ethnicity as it is currently used is theoretically ambivalent, confusing, indeed self-contradictory, straddling as it does an uneasy boundary between a universalist rhetoric of inclusion on the one hand, and actual, lived experiences of violence and intolerance on the other. To drastically reconceptualize ethnicity in the contemporary world, Chow proposes that it be examined in conjunction with Max Weber's famous theory about the Protestant work ethic and capitalism, which holds that secular belief in salvation often collaborates effectively with the interpellation, disciplining, and rewarding of subjects constituted by specific forms of labor. The charged figure that results from such a collaboration, resonant with the economic, psychological, and spiritual implications of the word "protest, " is what she refers to as the protestant ethnic.

Chow explores the vicissitudes of cross-ethnic representational politics in a diverse range of texts across multiple genres, including the writings of Georg Lukacs, Michel Foucault, Max Weber, Jacques Derrida, Fredric Jameson, Etienne Balibar, Charlotte Brontë, Garrett Hongo, John Yau, and Frantz Fanon; the films of Alfred Hitchcock, Marguerite Duras, and Alain Resnais; and the cartoon drawings of Larry Feign. Tracing out hauntingly familiar scenarios from stereotyping and coercive mimeticism to collective narcissistic abjection, the rise of white feminist racial power, and intraethnic ressentiment, Chow articulates a series of interlocking critical dialogues that challenge readers into hitherto unimagined ways of thinking about an urgent topic.

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