IASH Speaker Series presents Jennifer Stoever-Ackerman
April 23, 2013Tweet
She will argue that there is a sonic dimension to W.E.B. Du Bois’s concept of the color-line that has long gone unheard. She amplifies the aurality of Du Bois’s thought to better understand the continued potency of race over 100 years after his prophetic proclamation that ‘the problem of the 20th century is the problem of the color-line.’ While Stoever-Ackerman does not deny that vision is a powerful influence in the construction of race, she uses Du Bois’s work to think through the complex ways in which sound has acted both alone and in concert with visual racial discourses. Rather than reifying vision as totalizing, she points out its epistemological gaps and stake a claim for the importance of sound as a critical modality through which the structures of racist violence are (re)produced, apprehended and resisted. Influenced by Du Bois, she has termed the aural dimension of race ‘the sonic color-line.’ The sonic color-line is a socially constructed boundary where racial difference is produced, coded and policed. It insulates and preserves the logic of white supremacy, while sounding out the perimeters that supremacist thought places on black freedom, identity, mobility and citizenship.