Indigenous Sound Studies


The Indigenous Sound Studies working group aims to highlight Indigenous politics in music and sound. Our members come from various backgrounds to create an Indigenous-centered dialogue on issues of anti-colonial practices, sovereignty, identity, and knowledge production in sound. Our discussion spaces are intended to be collaborative and constructive for understanding the multiple frictions of intersecting racialized and gendered histories of coloniality. In our conversations, we seek to find possibilities for Indigenous self-determination outside definitions confined to borders, nation-states, or authenticity, which often fail to engage differences within Indigenous experiences.

Central to our group, is the interrogation of colonial and Western-oriented investigations of Indigenous sound and music in fields such as anthropology, ethnomusicology, and sound studies. We consider how a cross-discipline approach is generative for projects in Critical Indigenous Studies and our related field of Indigenous Sound Studies. Our foundational questions seek to examine how notions of sound and music are transformed through the incorporations of: 1) Indigenous linguistics and voice; 2) aesthetics; 3) cultural practices; and 4) different conceptions of space and time.

Indigenous Sound Studies Events

4-15-2022 ISS Symposium

Indigenous Relations and Unexpectedness: Intergenerational Sound Knowledge

04.15.2022 | 9:30 AM – 3:00 PM | Hybrid - In-person (Native Community Center, Eshleman Rd, Berkeley, CA) & Zoom Webinar

The theme for the Spring 2022 Indigenous Sound Studies symposium is “Indigenous Relations and Unexpectedness” where we discuss projects expanding intergenerational sound knowledge. This hybrid event will include a keynote conversation with guest speakers Dr. Jessica Bissett Perea and Dr. John-Carlos Perea followed by a graduate student panel.

Live performances by music artists Chhoti Maa and Palomx will conclude these conversations. This event exemplifies conceptual uses of relationality and unexpectedness in Indigenous sound projects to expand the field of sound and music studies. Food will be provided for in-person guests.

The Indigenous Sound Studies working group symposium is supported by grants from the Center for Race and Gender and Office for Graduate Diversity, and generously co-sponsored by the American Indian Graduate Program and the Native American Student Development office at UC Berkeley. 

ISS Events