ARAB 337
Soundscapes of Arabic Literature: Listening to Text and Society Spring 2022
Division I

Class Details

In recent years, scholars of the Arab world have paid increasing attention to the ways in which sound and sonic sources can add new depth to our understanding of the region. While much research has drawn on audio recordings, this course explores sounds, songs, noises, and silence through literature to develop a multi-sensory examination of the modern Arab world. We will listen to sounds of the past and present through novels, short stories, poems, and other texts (in translation), discussing how a consideration of the aural environment can shift the way we read both literature and history. Interdisciplinary in scope, this course introduces students to scholarly approaches in literary studies, anthropology, ethnomusicology, and the emerging field of sound studies. Units in this course are organized thematically rather than by country. We begin with an introduction to sound studies, then move on to reading literary texts from the Arab world and secondary scholarly studies to consider topics ranging from the sounds of quotidian street life to those of conflict in war. Students will learn to use the soundscape as a methodological tool through classroom discussions and weekly reading and writing assignments. Knowledge of the Arabic language is not required.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 19
Expected: 10
Class#: 3885
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: In-class participation, weekly short essays (2 pages), midterm project, and a final paper (12 pages).
Prerequisites: No prerequisites.
Enrollment Preferences: Comparative Literature, Arabic Studies and Music majors
Distributions: Division I

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