ZKF Public Talk: The Sounds of Protest: Exploring Affective Soundscapes in the Revolutionary City of Khartoum

Wednesday, 14. June 2023
17:30 - 19:00

Bischofsvilla + online

Centre for Cultural Inquiry (ZKF), NOMIS-Research Project "Traveling Forms"

Dr. Valerie Hänsch, Ludwig-Maximilian-Universität München

Dr. Jeannine-Madeleine Fischer

In cooperation with the NOMIS-Research Project "Traveling Forms"

Since the start of Sudan’s December Revolution in 2018 and the overthrow of president Omar al-Bashir in April 2019, supporters of the ousted Islamist regime and of the revolutionary movement have engaged in ongoing struggles, with a transitional government (established in 2019) being overthrown by military forces in October 2021, seriously challenging the revolutionary movement and blocking the way to democratic elections. Since then weekly protest marches have continued to take place across the city, resisting the coup and demanding a civilian government. The chanting of protest slogans and music-making play a central role in these marches; the performances however frequently being interrupted by violent actions of the security and military forces. The various sounds, slogans and counter-actions together constitute a distinct soundscape and acoustically shape the political space of the streets. Based on ethnographic research in Khartoum, this presentation explores the semiotic-material infrastructures of the street protests and the sounds of protests. Building on Birgit Meyers’ concept of “aesthetic formation” (2009), I focus on slogans, their sounds and rhythms as styles that bind people and values together. I understand slogans not just through their semiotic content which circulates between different forms (for instance, chanted words or wall writings) but as a form of acoustic activism that stimulates sensory experiences and generates affective resonances between people. This talk is part of my current anthropological research project “Expressing the revolution: Aesthetic activism in the Sudan and the re-appropriation of the city”, in which I investigate creative and artistic practices in the Sudanese revolution.

Meeting-ID: 915 3170 7702

Contact: zkf@uni-konstanz.de