Course Description

What can we learn about people, communities, environments, and ourselves by listening closely? As we pursue this question, we’ll travel from the studio, to the archives, around campus and Isla Vista, and out to sea. You will learn to approach sound as both a method of research and as an object of study. Through listening closely, this class will learn innovative approaches to humanities research. The class will also collaboratively create audio projects that explore the relationships between our communities, bodies, and environments.

In this class, we will consider how listening supports unique ways of thinking. We will study examples of how listening can be a method of research and reflect on what we learn through listening, especially how listening attunes us to bodies and environments. We will discuss questions like: what do we do when we listen? What does sound record that visuals might not? Who gets to speak? Who has to listen? Who gets listened to? 

Learning Goals

  • Analyze audio for content, context, rhetorical, political messages 
  • Compose an argument with audio
  • Evaluate how the mode/media shapes the way of thinking and researching
  • Compare different methods of listening and researching audio
  • Discuss the political and power dimensions of media and audio.  

Engaging Humanities Initiative 

This course is part of the Mellon Engaging Humanities initiative. We’re happy to have you on board! We encourage you to make the most of your fellowship and the resources available. To do this, keep a close eye on your email for announcements of new courses, events, and opportunities. Your mentor is a great resource, so don’t hesitate to reach out to them. In addition, during the quarter Dr. Linda Adler-Kassner or Dr. Elina Salminen will hold Mellon Engaging Humanities “office hours” every Wednesday 12:30-2pm at CITRAL (1576 UCSB Library – first floor, Ocean side). We encourage you to come in for a chat, to ask any questions you might have, and for help with your eportfolio. You can also always email or call us:
Dr. Salminen: 805-893-6136,

Dr. Adler-Kassner: 805-893-6135,

We look forward to working and learning with you! 

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