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Listening for Learning

Performing a Pedagogy of Sound and Listening

Chris McRae

Whoosh, crunch, buzz, inhale, exhale . . . Listening for Learning: Performing a Pedagogy of Sound and Listening presents sound, listening, and pedagogical interactions as performances that create relationships, ways of being and knowing, and that provide an opportunity for transformations of existing and taken-for-granted practices in the classroom. By using performative listening and performative writing this book presents fragments of sound and listening as sites of learning and knowledge production. The written fragments throughout this book are offered as performances that listen for and hear sound as a central feature to educational practices in terms of bodies, classrooms, and pedagogy. The goal in sharing this performance of listening is to create opportunities for recognition, to invite further listening in educational contexts, and to employ listening as an opportunity for transforming and re-imagining educational spaces and interactions.

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Chapter 3. Listening and Sounding Bodies


Chapter 3 listens to and for the different ways that bodies in the classroom are made in sound. In Chapters 1 and 2 I listen for the ways bodies make sound in educational spaces and interactions, but in this chapter I listen for the ways that sound makes bodies. The instances of listening in this chapter alternate between hearing the production of what Deborah Kapchan refers to as “the sound body,” and listening for the ways institutional policies and practices make “institutional bodies.”

Kapchan offers the sound body as an alternative conceptualization of the body that both works to account for the presence of sound, but also to name the transformative possibilities of bodies as they might come to exist in sound. She says, “This is the sound body: a resonant body that is porous, that transforms according to the vibrations of its environment, and correspondingly transforms the environment” (38). The sound body is a prepositional body that exists and emerges in, through, by, and for sound. Kapchan explains, “The sound body, however, resists the property principle. Despite attempts of the market to harness and copyright sound, the sound body refuses to be owned. It inhabits but does not appropriate. It sounds and resounds but cannot be ←69 | 70→captured” (39). The sound body is made in sound and exceeds the finite definitions and limits of policies and institutions.

In contrast, the legal body, or what I refer to in Chapter 3 as the institutional body,...

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