The Hub AU offers new graduate course: Listening as a way of knowing

AU offers new graduate course: Listening as a way of knowing

Students taking Athabasca University’s online Master of Arts – Interdisciplinary Studies (MA-IS) will have an exciting new course option this winter—MAIS 752: Listening as a way of Knowing.

This special topics graduate seminar, titled “Listening as a Way of Knowing: A Course on Sound and Interdisciplinary Research Methods,” is taught by Dr. Mickey Vallee, AU’s Canada Research Chair in Community, Identity, and Digital Media.

Course overview

The course introduces graduate students to listening as a method for collecting and analyzing data in interdisciplinary research. Researchers have lately turned to sound and listening as a way of knowing events, people, ideas, spaces and times, and to acquaint themselves with the vibrational energies of bodies and/in places.

The past two decades have seen an explosion of scholarly work in sound by writers in the human sciences. There are many histories and ethnographies of listening, studies of soundscape and soundscape design, and a proliferation of books and articles on sound media, sound art, and sound works, as well as a recent interest in the epistemologies of sound and knowing science through the sonic and sonification.

Researchers are rethinking longstanding pieties about the nature of sound and listening, the role of speech, hearing and music in modern life and modern thought, and the relations among the senses. The goal of the seminar will be to map and assess this work, considering how scholars inquire about sound and what important methodological questions might be emerging at this moment. Three ways of knowing through sound will be explored in-depth: field recording, soundwalking, and soundmapping.

Students will not be required to have a working familiarity with anything to do with sound. Despite the assignments being sound-based, students will learn that sound methods require very little technical knowledge about sound recording, and very little specialist knowledge about acoustics. The course assumes that students live in and through sound, in some capacity or another, and that sound is a route of access to a student’s subjective research interests.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Describe the individual benefits of listening as a research method
  • Articulate the main arguments and intellectual directions contemporary sound studies scholars are working with
  • Analyze critical theories and their readings of how we know through sound
  • Define and pursue individual interests in the scholarly treatment of sound

Register today!

This online Master of Arts course is open to any graduate student. To register contact the MA-IS program office:

The winter session begins  Jan. 6, 2020. Online registrations open Oct. 14 for program students and Nov. 1 for non-program students.

The winter grouped study course registration deadline for all students is Dec. 1 or when the course becomes full.