“Hearing Images, Seeing Sounds”: Disturbance as Pedagogy


  • Subhashim Goswami Shiv Nadar University




This article is an ethnographic account of a course I designed and taught in my university to mostly non-humanities, engineering and science undergraduate students from diverse backgrounds. In it, I consider the possibility of a pedagogical approach to teach what it means to construct a field in anthropological terms during a classroom based teaching module. I suggest that one can approach the construction of a field within the classroom by using disturbance as a pedagogical tool. Drawing from Anna Tsing’s formulation of “disturbance as an analytical tool†I demonstrate how we can construct a field pedagogically by disturbing the certitude of the known and by reimagining the modes of seeing and hearing the familiar. The ethnographic elucidation of this paper is essentially work produced from this class – images created from within the university, influenced by a question asked by students and accompanying soundscapes produced by students’ themselves – which demonstrates the possibility of constructing a field by, in a sense, hearing images and seeing sounds. 

This article contains embedded sound files and is best downloaded and opened with Adobe Acrobat or similar.  A link is also provided in the text for viewing the sounds and images online for those who open the file though online PDF viewers.