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Archived voices, acoustic traces, and the reverberations of Kurdish history in modern Turkey

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Abstract
This article investigates how middle-aged to elderly Kurdish women in Turkey engage with large collections of Kurdish music recordings in their possession. Framing them as archives, women mobilize these collections as central elements in a larger, ongoing Kurdish project of historical critique, which seeks to resist hegemonic state narratives that have long denied and marginalized Kurdish voices. While recognizing the critical intervention such archives make, the article contends that, to be heard as "history" with a legitimate claim to authority, subaltern voices often have to rely on the very hegemonic forms, genres, and discourses they set out to challenge. This means that subaltern projects of historical critique walk a fine line between critique and complicity, an insight that nuances narratives that would approach subaltern voices predominantly from a perspective of resistance. At the same time, this article argues that a more complete picture of subaltern archives requires us to attend to the voices they contain not just as metaphors for resistance or political representation but also as acoustic objects that have social effects because of the way they sound. By outlining the affective qualities that voice recordings held for the Kurdish women who archived them, the article shows how their collections participated in carving out specific, gendered subject positions as well as forging a broader Kurdish sociality. Paying attention to history's "acoustic register" (Hunt 2008), this suggests, promises to open up perspectives on subaltern historiography that go beyond binary frameworks of resistance and domination, critique and complicity.
Keywords
archive, voice, silence, Kurds, Turkey, subaltern, historical critique, acoustics, affect, POLITICS, WOMEN

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MLA
Schäfers, Marlene. “Archived Voices, Acoustic Traces, and the Reverberations of Kurdish History in Modern Turkey.” COMPARATIVE STUDIES IN SOCIETY AND HISTORY, vol. 61, no. 2, 2019, pp. 447–73, doi:10.1017/S0010417519000112.
APA
Schäfers, M. (2019). Archived voices, acoustic traces, and the reverberations of Kurdish history in modern Turkey. COMPARATIVE STUDIES IN SOCIETY AND HISTORY, 61(2), 447–473. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0010417519000112
Chicago author-date
Schäfers, Marlene. 2019. “Archived Voices, Acoustic Traces, and the Reverberations of Kurdish History in Modern Turkey.” COMPARATIVE STUDIES IN SOCIETY AND HISTORY 61 (2): 447–73. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0010417519000112.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Schäfers, Marlene. 2019. “Archived Voices, Acoustic Traces, and the Reverberations of Kurdish History in Modern Turkey.” COMPARATIVE STUDIES IN SOCIETY AND HISTORY 61 (2): 447–473. doi:10.1017/S0010417519000112.
Vancouver
1.
Schäfers M. Archived voices, acoustic traces, and the reverberations of Kurdish history in modern Turkey. COMPARATIVE STUDIES IN SOCIETY AND HISTORY. 2019;61(2):447–73.
IEEE
[1]
M. Schäfers, “Archived voices, acoustic traces, and the reverberations of Kurdish history in modern Turkey,” COMPARATIVE STUDIES IN SOCIETY AND HISTORY, vol. 61, no. 2, pp. 447–473, 2019.
@article{8582369,
  abstract     = {This article investigates how middle-aged to elderly Kurdish women in Turkey engage with large collections of Kurdish music recordings in their possession. Framing them as archives, women mobilize these collections as central elements in a larger, ongoing Kurdish project of historical critique, which seeks to resist hegemonic state narratives that have long denied and marginalized Kurdish voices. While recognizing the critical intervention such archives make, the article contends that, to be heard as "history" with a legitimate claim to authority, subaltern voices often have to rely on the very hegemonic forms, genres, and discourses they set out to challenge. This means that subaltern projects of historical critique walk a fine line between critique and complicity, an insight that nuances narratives that would approach subaltern voices predominantly from a perspective of resistance. At the same time, this article argues that a more complete picture of subaltern archives requires us to attend to the voices they contain not just as metaphors for resistance or political representation but also as acoustic objects that have social effects because of the way they sound. By outlining the affective qualities that voice recordings held for the Kurdish women who archived them, the article shows how their collections participated in carving out specific, gendered subject positions as well as forging a broader Kurdish sociality. Paying attention to history's "acoustic register" (Hunt 2008), this suggests, promises to open up perspectives on subaltern historiography that go beyond binary frameworks of resistance and domination, critique and complicity.},
  author       = {Schäfers, Marlene},
  issn         = {0010-4175},
  journal      = {COMPARATIVE STUDIES IN SOCIETY AND HISTORY},
  keywords     = {archive,voice,silence,Kurds,Turkey,subaltern,historical critique,acoustics,affect,POLITICS,WOMEN},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {447--473},
  title        = {Archived voices, acoustic traces, and the reverberations of Kurdish history in modern Turkey},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0010417519000112},
  volume       = {61},
  year         = {2019},
}

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