I am an assistant professor of Performance Studies and a Crawley Faculty Fellow at Texas A&M University. My research explores sound-making and auditory practices as avenues for studying the government. It also examines the role of the state in framing certain sounds as (un)desirable, (il)licit, or (un)necessary. Over the past decade, I have conducted extensive fieldwork in Brazil.
My first book, Sound-Politics in São Paulo (Oxford University Press, 2019), is an ethnographic study of urban noise in the most populous city in Brazil, the Western Hemisphere, and the Southern Hemisphere. In Sound-Politics in São Paulo, I examine environmental noise as a thread to navigate across governmental agencies in the legislative, executive, and judiciary branches. I describe how noise control debates in the city relate to controversies surrounding techno-scientific standards, laws, police enforcement, and judicial decisions. The book focuses on two interrelated processes: first, the series of regulatory mechanisms that turn sounds into the all-embracing “noise” susceptible to state intervention; second, the constant attempts of interested groups in either attaching or detaching specific sounds (musical events, industrial noise, traffic noise, religious sounds, etc.) from regulatory scrutiny. I define the dynamics of both processes as “sound-politics”: the channels through which sounds enter (and leave) the sphere of state regulation.
I am now working on a second book, titled State Acoustics in Brazil. This book continues the study of sound-politics as an analytical paradigm initiated in Sound-Politics in São Paulo but examines a broader range of sound categories and historical moments. State Acoustics in Brazil focuses on four modes of state acoustics: radio broadcasting, Congress talks, dissent neutralizing, and surveillance.