Architectural Detail of Old Cabell

EGMT 1510: What is Noise?


What is Noise? Who gets to make noise and who gets punished for making it?  What are some sites of Noise in Charlottesville today? What are the differences between sound, noise, and music?  How has the concept of noise changed through history? What for example was the loudest sound imaginable in 1607, when settlers came to Jamestown? How do birds respond to car alarms?  This class engages aesthetics through the concept of noise.  We will use the idea of noise to ask questions about aesthetics and difference. We will think about the ways that our positions as listeners effect our ability to move through the world. We will listen to noise as it relates to power, economics, the environment, love, the body, race, gender, and class. in our own city. The class will include a playlist of aural encounters including music, readings from a variety of fields, and hands on noise making activities. Readings will range from primary sources in Special Collections Library, fiction, to acoustics, environmental science, and journalistic accounts of public debates around noise pollution. Through listening, close reading, shared experience, small group work, sound walks and other experiences, this course encourages you to make an unmake your ideas about noise. The course will create a space for students to productively engage others in discussions of aesthetics, creativity, and politics. Finally, we will make some noise!