Department of Anthropology

Marina Peterson


Associate ProfessorPh.D., University of Chicago

Marina Peterson

Contact

Interests


Sound, cities, sensory ethnography, materialities, infrastructure; US (Los Angeles, Appalachian Ohio)

Biography


My work traces modalities of matter, sensory attunements, and emergent socialities, exploring diverse and innovative ways of encountering and presenting the ethnographic. With research primarily in and of Los Angeles and small cities of Appalachian Ohio, I have taken up these concerns through investigation and analysis of entanglements of sound, sensation, and urban infrastructures below and above ground.

My current book project is titled Atmospheric Noise: Sensory Matters and Indefinite Urbanism. Tracing indeterminate categories and emergent entanglements of environmental noise, atmosphere, sense, and matter that cohere in and through noise pollution legislation and the politics of airport noise in the 1960s, it addresses key ways in which noise amplifies ways of sensing and making sense of the atmospheric. A sonic ethnography of how people listen, it argues for a theory of sound as immanent and non-objectified. I use the term indefinite urbanism to attend to porous boundaries between that which is hard and that which is airy, considering spaces shaped by atmospheric conditions and now inaudible histories – the margins or marginalized spaces of the city where concrete meets sky, windows resonate with the whine of departing planes, and infrastructural edge spaces provide a refuge for an endangered species of butterfly.  Engaging with a burgeoning literature on forces, attunements, and forms of containment that bring the atmospheric into focus, I depart from its emphasis on air, examining, instead, crucial ways in which noise has been central to how we know how to feel and think atmospherically. 

Courses


ANT 324L • Sounds Of The City

30799 • Spring 2018
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM SAC 4.118

The city resounds with traffic and laughter, birds and airplanes, the nightclub and its revelers, the stillness of wind rustling leaves. In this course we will listen to the city through sensory investigations that attend to the physicality of perception and sound – to that which is audible and beyond. Austin will serve as our site of sonic investigation for an urban “acoustemology” (Feld) that explores the significance of sound for urban social life. Topics to be addressed include musical cultures, protest sound, noise ordinances and gentrification, architectural acoustics, and energy, environment and infrastructure. Sonic methodologies will focus on ethnographic approaches to sound and listening, soundwalks, basic field recording techniques, and the study of sonic archives. Along with class listening fieldtrips, students will conduct their own sonic ethnographies throughout the course of the semester.

ANT 324L • Sounds Of The City

31461 • Fall 2017
Meets MW 10:00AM-11:30AM SAC 4.120

The city resounds with traffic and laughter, birds and airplanes, the nightclub and its revelers, the stillness of wind rustling leaves. In this course we will listen to the city through sensory investigations that attend to the physicality of perception and sound – to that which is audible and beyond. Austin will serve as our site of sonic investigation for an urban “acoustemology” (Feld) that explores the significance of sound for urban social life. Topics to be addressed include musical cultures, protest sound, noise ordinances and gentrification, architectural acoustics, and energy, environment and infrastructure. Sonic methodologies will focus on ethnographic approaches to sound and listening, soundwalks, basic field recording techniques, and the study of sonic archives. Along with class listening fieldtrips, students will conduct their own sonic ethnographies throughout the course of the semester.

Publications


Books and Special Issues

2017  Between Matter and Method: Encounters in Anthropology and the Arts. Co-edited with Gretchen Bakke. London: Bloomsbury.

2016  Anthropology of the Arts: A Reader. Co-edited with Gretchen Bakke. London: Bloomsbury.

2012  Audio Work: Labor, Value, and the Making of Musical Aesthetics. Co-edited with Jesse Shipley. Special issue of Journal of Popular Music Studies 24(4).

2012  Global Downtowns. Co-edited with Gary W. McDonogh. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

2010  Sound, Space, and the City: Civic Performance in Downtown Los Angeles. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

 

Journal Articles and Book Chapters

2017  Atmospheric Sensibilities: Noise, Annoyance, and Indefinite Urbanism. Social Text 35(2)131:69-90.

2016  Emergent Sound: Labor, Materiality, and Nonrepresentational Music. Popular Music Studies 39(3):317-331.

2016  Sensory Attunements: Working with the Past in the Little Cities of Black Diamonds. South Atlantic Quarterly 115(1):89-111.

2013  Sonic Cosmopolitanisms: Experimental Improvised Music and Cultural Exchange. In The Arab Avant-Garde: Musical Innovation in the Middle East, edited by Thomas Burkhalter, Kay Dickinson, and Benjamin J. Harbert. Pp. 185-208. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press.

2013  Sound Work: Law, Labor and Capital in the 1940s Recording Bans of the American Federation of Musicians. Anthropological Quarterly 86(3):791-824.

2012  Co-authored with Jesse Shipley. Introduction. In Audio Work: Labor, Value, and the Making of Musical Aesthetics. Special issue of Journal of Popular Music Studies 24(4):399-410.

2012  Utopia/Dystopia: The Arts and Downtown Development in Los Angeles. In Global Downtowns, edited by Marina Peterson and Gary W. McDonogh. Pp. 209-233. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

2012  Co-authored with Gary W. McDonogh. Introduction. In Global Downtowns, edited by Marina Peterson and Gary W. McDonogh. Pp. 1-26. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

2010  Garden, City, World: Los Angeles’ Late Twentieth Century Multicultural Arts Festivals. In The Politics of Cultural Programming in Public Spaces, edited by Robert Gehl and Victoria Watts. Pp. 47-61. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

2007  Translocal Civilities: Chinese Modern Dance at Downtown Los Angeles Public Concerts. In Deciphering the Global: Its Scales, Spaces and Subjects, edited by Saskia Sassen. Pp. 41-58. New York: Routledge.

2006  Patrolling the Plaza: Privatized Public Space and the Neoliberal State in Downtown Los Angeles. Urban Anthropology 35(4):355-386.

2003  “Celebrate the World…Celebrate L.A.!”: Public Concerts and the Making of the Global City. Géocarrefour 78(2):139-146.

2003  “World in a Weekend”: Public Concerts and the Emergence of a Transnational Urban Space. Journal of Popular Music Studies 15(2):121-139.

2003  Performing Diversity: The 2002 World Festival of Sacred Music – Los Angeles. Music and Culture 9:107-124.

2002  Performing the “People’s Palace”: Musical Performance and the Production of Space at the Chicago Cultural Center. Space and Culture 5(3):253-264.