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Friday, October 26

Mediating Voice, Sounding Politics: Āwāj as Metaphor and Material
South Asia Initiative Speaker Series - Year 3
3:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Laura Kunreuther, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Bard College
3106 Posvar Hall
Sponsored by:
Asian Studies Center
Lynn Kawaratani
Contact Email:

Dr. Kunreuther will discuss the South Asian term ‘āwāj’ as a vernacular alternative to global discourses of ‘voice’. While global discourses of voice (in English) rarely turn our attention to the soundings of democracy, the term ‘āwāj’, used in many South Asian languages, refers explicitly to sound and to metaphoric meanings of voice. At a metaphorical level largely developed through media, ‘āwāj’ resonates with modern, global discourses of voice used to describe interior thoughts and desires, political consciousness, agency, and modes of selfhood central to modern publics and democratic practice. Because sound affects us in ways that often exceed words, ‘āwāj’ helps us focus our attention on the connections between the rational and the affective, the articulate and the inarticulate, rather than their fundamental division, raising questions around how we think about democratic practice.