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Modernity'S EarListening to Race and Gender in World Music$
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Roshanak Kheshti

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9781479867011

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479867011.001.0001

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The Female Sound Collector and Her Talking Machine

The Female Sound Collector and Her Talking Machine

(p.15) 1 The Female Sound Collector and Her Talking Machine
Modernity'S Ear

Roshanak Kheshti

NYU Press

This chapter explores the important biopolitical role that listening to the sounds of the other has played in the twentieth and early twenty-first world music culture industry (WMCI), in both its academic and commercial guises. It examines bodies as sites through which the other’s sounds resonate, and the deeply libidinized practice of listening that American consumers have been trained in through the technological developments of the last hundred years. Through its increasing domestication by the gramophone industry and the ascension of the bourgeois woman, the target market for the machine’s home use, chapter one also argues that the WMCI is intimately tied to the feminization of listening. I examine the domestication of sound both among collectors and among listeners as a process that brought Native and African American noises under discursive control, rendering them legible “phonographic subjects.” This practice fed the desires of feminized, domesticated listeners who not only sought exotic sounds on the phonographs that replaced the pianos in their parlors, but also a new domesticated other on whom the white female listener had a social leg up.

Keywords:   Feminization of listening, comparative musicology, songcatcher, sound collector, phonograph, Frances Densmore, Blackfoot Mountain Chief, phonographic subject

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