Tom Western – Covered Mouths Still Have Voices (reading group discussion)
Date & Time:
4th April, 12:00
Online event; the link will be sent to those who register.
You are warmly invited to a reading group to discuss a new essay by Tom Western (UCL Geography): ‘Covered Mouths Still Have Voices’.
You are warmly invited to a reading group to discuss a new essay by Tom Western (UCL Geography): ‘Covered Mouths Still Have Voices’. This is part of a series of events to celebrate the launch of the special issue ‘Voice and Listening: Techniques for Political Life’, newly published in the Journal of Sonic Studies. The essay opens ideas of vocal-spatial resistance that have emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic, hearing how people have developed new spatialities of voice through pandemic activisms (full abstract below). Join us for a chat about voice and space, mobilities and mobilisations, planetary activisms, and writing academic articles without colons in the title…
The title of this essay is a political slogan. It borrows from the chant of medical workers in Greece, who have been asserting that covered mouths still have a voice (“Και τα καλυμμένα στόματα βγάζουν φωνή”) since long before the COVID-19 pandemic began at the start of 2020. The slogan has become politically useful on wider scales since then, and I take it as a jumping off point – a means of understanding political techniques of vocality that have been retuned in pandemic contexts. My focus is on forms of vocal-spatial resistance, hearing how people contest political hierarchies of vocality that have been tightened during COVID, and create new spatialities of voice through pandemic activisms. The essay listens to how voices signal and sound out multiple forms of mobilisation, and it outlines a global sense of voice that develops as a result. From this, ways of hearing mouths and voices emerge not just in terms of speaking and sounding, or only as forms of identity and agency, but as a gathering, a refusal, a resource, a navigational tool, a transformation.