Steven Feld introduced the concept of acoustemology in the early 1990s, conjoining »acoustic« and »epistemology« in order to pursue the social study of sound as a way of knowing and being in the world. In doing so, Steven Feld provided a new and extended vocabulary for the discussion of music and sound on which anthropologists, ethnomusicologists, and others increasingly draw. In a series of three lectures, held on three subsequent days, Steven Feld presented the current state of his thinking. He relates acoustemology to ongoing theoretical debates on globalization, neoliberal capitalism, environmental change and human-nonhuman-interactions, and thereby showed ways in which acoustemological approaches may contribute to better understand some of the most pressing questions of our times.
Steven Feld is Senior Scholar at the School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe, New Mexico. An anthropologist, filmmaker, musician, and sound artist, he is also Distinguished Professor of Anthropology Emeritus at the University of New Mexico. His publications include the book Sound and Sentiment: Birds, Weeping, Poetics, and Song in Kaluli Expression and related CD and film Voices of the Rainforest; Jazz Cosmopolitanism in Accra with related five film and 10 CD series; and articles including On Post-Ethnomusicology Alternatives: Acoustemology in F. Giannattasio & G. Guiriati, Ethnomusicology or Transcultural Musicology?; Doing Anthropology in Sound (with Don Brenneis), in American Ethnologist; and Waterfalls of Song: An acoustemology of place resounding in Bosavi, in S. Feld & K. Basso, Sense of Place.