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Ethnography and Auditory Curiosity


Admission requirements

This course is available for students of the Humanities Lab
If you have received your propaedeutic diploma within one academic year, your academic results are good and you are a very motivated student, you may apply for a place in the Humanities Lab.


Sound is often taken for granted, because it is ubiquitous to the hearing subject. Feeling as if our sonic environment were always already out there, we tend to forget that hearing and listening are culturally determined practices, not biological preconditions. For anthropologists and scholars of sound studies, however, attunement to different “soundworlds” is an essential aspect of doing research. This course investigates how ethnographers from different disciplines cultivate their auditory skills, exploring various approaches to sound, hearing, and listening. With examples from across the world, including Europe, Japan, and the Netherlands, the course will look at topics such as the relationship between sound and religious identity, non-humans and their sounds, auditory atmospheres, and intimacy in fieldwork research. Throughout the course, we will question widespread assumptions concerning sensory knowledge, the emergence of new technologies, and the workings of power.

Course objectives

  • Become familiar with ethnographic research on sound and auditory culture

  • Be able to compare and assess different approaches to sound and its relations with music

  • Heighten curiosity toward and awareness of the auditory environment

  • Learn to present personal listening experiences orally and in writing, connecting them to broader debates across disciplines

  • Refine critical thinking, improve writing skills, and explore multimedia research tools


Courses of the Humanities Lab are scheduled on Friday afternoon from 13.00 to 17.00hrs.
For the exact timetable, please visit the following website.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminars

  • Guest Lecture(s)

  • Excursion(s)

Course Load

This course is worth 5 EC (140 hours):

  • Lectures/Seminars: 4 hours a week x 6 = 24 hours

  • Readings (ca. 350 pages): 7 hours a week x 6 = 48 hours

  • Weekly Assignments: 3 hours a week x 6 = 18 hours

  • Presentation: 8 hours x 1 = 8 hours
    8 Final Project: 42 hours

Assessment method

  • Attendance, participation, and presentation: 30%

  • Weekly assignments: 30%

  • Final project: 40%

The final grade is the weighted average of the above components.


Attendance is compulsory for all meetings (lectures, seminars, excursion(s)). If you are unable to attend due to circumstances beyond your control, notify the [Humanities Lab coordinators] ( in advance, providing a valid reason for your absence, and hand in your weekly assignment in writing to the lecturer (if applicable). Being absent without notification and valid reason may result in lower grades or exclusion from the course.
All elements have to be passed successfully to receive a course grade. There are no resits for attendance, the presentation and weekly assignments. For the final project, the possibility of a resit applies.

Exam review

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.


Brightspace will be used for:

  • Announcements

  • Reading materials

  • Assignments

  • Grading

Brightspace plays an essential part in this course. All important information about the course, including announcements, the syllabus, as well as information about readings and grading will be available on the course website. As part of class participation, students will also be required to make postings on the Brightspace website.

Reading list

Readings will be made available through Brightspace


Students of the Humanities Lab will be registered via uSis by the administration of the Humanities Lab. More information about registration for courses will be provided on Brightspace.
General information about uSis is available on the website

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable


Contact information Dr. A. Giolai Humanities Lab office


This course is part of the Humanities Lab programme, visit the website for more information.
Visit the Honours Academy website for more information about the Honours College.