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UAL Research Online

Partitioned listening: sonic methodology and the archive after 1947

Tariq, Syma (2022) Partitioned listening: sonic methodology and the archive after 1947. PhD thesis, University of the Arts London.

Type of Research: Thesis
Creators: Tariq, Syma

This thesis approaches the 1947 Partition – the division of the British Raj and the princely states into the independent nations of India and (East and West) Pakistan – as a sonic condition as well as an historical event. This approach furthers Madhavi Menon’s formulation of the Partition as a “condition within which we all labour” (2016), and so considers the production, reception and repetition of sound as vital labour within it. Given the contemporary archival memory boom that Partition is experiencing following decades of “silence”, this approach offers new and timely methodological paradigms for Partition studies, while critically expanding the fields of oral history, postcolonial studies and sound studies.

Following relevant strands of (feminist) oral history, political anthropology, analytic philosophy, fictive and testimonial outputs and assessments of colonial and archival knowledge production, my methodological framework – titled “partitioned listening” – is centred on the development of a creative audio research practice, included in this thesis as three “transmissions”. These transmissions are contextualized by my encounters with three aural archives: the 1947 Partition Archive, the Citizen’s Archive of Pakistan and the Bristol Empire and Commonwealth Collection.

Through my engagement with sound in many modes – listening to testimony, conducting interviews, and producing sonic work – I provide new critical insights into the forms and processes of the contemporary “postcolonised” (Asif, 2020) archival “regime”. (Azoulay, 2019) The inclusion of both sound and text in this investigation offers a multi-modal engagement with the sonic complexity and aural diffusion that Partition conjures. This experimental approach, which centres listening to and working with voices across time and space, reveals the wider challenges and possibilities that an engagement with listening as method offers for sonic/archival research after colonial rule and division.

Keywords/subjects not otherwise listed: 1947 Partition, India, Pakistan, British empire, oral history, aural archives, audio research, listening, sonic methodology, sound art
Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > London College of Communication
Date: December 2022
Funders: UK Research Council: techne
Date Deposited: 15 Apr 2024 13:34
Last Modified: 08 Jul 2024 11:40
Item ID: 21559
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/21559

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