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LIAS PhD Seminar: Listening and hearing in research


Admission requirements

In addition to LIAS PhD students, this course is open to students of the MA Middle Eastern Studies (research), the MA Asian Studies (research), and the MA Classical and Ancient Civilizations (research). Interested students from other relevant PhD and Research MA programmes are kindly advised to contact the course convener and the coordinator or studies before registering for this course.


Research across the humanities and social sciences is a multisensory affair, yet the language of academic disciplines remains overwhelmingly anchored in visual metaphors. Images of watching and seeing are ubiquitous in both the designation of our subject matter (e.g. the “male gaze”, or the “digital panopticon”) and descriptions of the research process (e.g. “theoretical framework”, “perspective”, “review”, etc.). But what happens if, instead, we foreground listening and hearing as methodological paradigms? In this seminar, we will analyse a range of written and audio materials, including essays, podcasts, sound compositions, field recordings and artistic performances. We will explore and reassert the role of listening and hearing in the research process, but also reflect on their potential as metaphors for this process. We will consider how sounds shape experiences and rituals around the world. We will read about the use of music in war, torture, and colonialism, about silence, screaming, hearing devices, and vocal impairment. Drawing on sound and technology studies, anthropology, philosophy, history and decolonial theory, we will ask how diverse interpretations of listening and hearing can advance our own projects, and how this can foster interdisciplinarity. Crucially, the aim is not to substitute one dominant sensory mode for another, but to show that research is an embodied, open, and creative endeavour.

Course objectives

To deepen your familiarity with research on sound and auditory culture;
To present listening experiences orally and in writing, connecting them to broader debates across disciplines;
To enhance your oral presentation skills and your ability to engage in debate and workshop settings;
To further develop your academic writing skills.


The timetables are avalable through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

Mode of instruction: seminar

  • Attendance and active participation are obligatory for seminars. Students are required to prepare for and attend all sessions. The convenor needs to be informed without delay of any classes missed because of illness or misadventure. In these cases it is up to the discretion of the convener(s) of the course whether or not the missed class will have to be made up with an extra assignment. The maximum of such absences during a semester is two. Being absent without notification and/or more than two times can result in exclusion from the term end exams and a failing grade for the course.

  • Assignments may include web posts, presentations, moderating the discussion etc, at the discretion of the convener.

  • Deadlines for paper submission (ResMA students only) are set by the convener, after consultation of the students. Papers must be submitted at a date that enables marking and administrative processing within maximally six weeks after the Seminar’s final session.

Assessment method

ResMA students take the course for credit and will write a paper worth about 70 hours of work. Information on the requirements for the paper will be provided by the convener at the start of the course.
Assessment consists of two components, each worth 50% of the end grade:

  • Contributions to in-class debate and any assignments (see above)

  • A paper (see above)

In order to pass the course, ResMA students need a pass mark (i.e. 5,50 or higher) for both components.

Reading list

Prior to the start of the course, the course convener will provide detailed information on the material to be reviewed and any other preparatory activities for each session.


Enrolment through My Studymap is mandatory.


  • For substantive questions, contact the course convener.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office