Malcolm H. Kerr Dissertation Awards
Michelle D. Weitzel
New School for Social Research, Department of Politics
2020 Honorable Mention (Social Sciences)
Drones, Sirens, and Prayer Calls: Unheard Consequences of a Politics of Sound
This highly original dissertation, which was completed at the New School, explores how sound acts as a form of political power. Building on almost two years of fieldwork, her study compellingly shows that aurality has been a central concern of a wide range of political actors in the Middle East and Europe since the early nineteenth century. Through extensive case studies of sound in the politics of Israel, the Palestinian territories, Algeria, and France, she links individual, often unconscious, perceptions of sound to larger socio-political issues along with mass campaigns of control, entertainment, intimidation, mobilization persuasion. Strikingly, Weitzel’s argument uniquely blends a host of disciplines, from international affairs to psychology to military affairs, and is certain to pave the wave for a fresh generation of scholarship that recognizes the role of sound in Middle East politics.
The dissertation was completed at the New School for Social Research of The New School under the supervision of Rafi Youatt.