Annual Conference: Italian Sonorities and Acoustic Communities: Listening to the Soundscapes of Italianit
In his 1984 book Acoustic Communication, Barry Truax defined acoustic communities as “any soundscape in which acoustic information plays a pervasive role in the lives of the inhabitants. . . . The community is linked and defined by its sounds. To an outsider they may appear exotic or go unnoticed, but to the inhabitants they convey useful information about individual and community life.”
Where do we find and how can we hear the Italian acoustic communities that have existed in the historical past and that exist today? Beginning with a transnational understanding of italianità, or Italianness, that encompasses the modern nation-state of Italy, including its diaspora and former colonies, such soundscapes can be composed of the cocoliche pidgin of Argentina, Mussolini’s rabble-rousing broadcasts from the balcony of Piazza Venezia, Frank Sinatra’s bel canto vocal styling, and the clanging of sheep bells during the transhumance.
Sounds move, cross borders, and link bodies that might otherwise not be linked, that might otherwise be divided from each other. But sounds also stay put, engendering familiarity and intimacy, creating spaces of shared identity. This interdisciplinary conference focuses on Italian sonorities broadly defined in order to discover hitherto unexplored perspectives and expressions regarding such movements and identities.