Communication and Culture | Communication, Culture, and Community (Topic: Audio Production as Service: Documenting Sounds and Stories in the Path of I-69)
C385 | 13316 | Hagood, M.

MTuTh, 3:00 PM-5:00 PM, C2 102

Instructor: Mack Hagood
Office: C2 279
Phone: 856-7385

In this service learning class, we will use audio production to
document and evaluate coming changes to the Southern Indiana
soundscape. Breaking into small teams, students will interview local
residents and record human and natural sounds in the pathway of the
controversial new Interstate 69 extension. Though there will be
readings, we will mostly learn through doing—practicing ethnographic
and audio production methods while serving the community. The
stories and soundscapes we record will be edited for an audio
documentary broadcast on community radio station WFHB. We will also
offer our recordings, photos, and fieldnotes to cultural heritage
archives and education programs such as Traditional Arts Indiana.

What is a soundscape? Over the past decade an increasing number of
artists, musicians, and scholars have turned an ear to the sonic
dimension of everyday life and lived space.  Focusing on
the “soundscape” means paying close attention to the natural,
mechanical, and mediated sounds that help shape our lives. It also
means critically examining—and even intervening in—human activities
that alter the aural world. The sounds of I-69 will radically alter
the soundscape and aural experience of local people. As scholars, we
will theorize the nature of these changes. As community activists,
we will draw attention to the soundscape as a threatened aspect of
the environment.

What will we be doing in class? We will read materials on three
topics: 1) soundscapes and human experience of sound, 2)
ethnographic research methods, and 3) audio production techniques.
Skills learned in class will include audio recording, sound editing,
and ethnographic interviews, transcription, and analysis. Visiting
lecturers will include local activists, folklorists, and audio
producers. Students will spend much of their time “in the field,”
doing interviews, taking photos, and making field recordings. You
will compile an ethnographic portfolio, archive your data, and write
a five-to-seven page paper discussing your work.

Is this class for me? Students with interests in sound, ethnography,
media production, journalism, and/or environmental issues will
particularly enjoy this class. It is recommended (but not required)
to have prior experience in at least one of two areas: ethnography
(C122 or a class in folklore, cultural anthropology, or
ethnomusicology) or production (audio, video, or journalism). Feel
free to email the instructor, Mack Hagood, for more information: