Blackness beyond witness: Black Vernacular phenomena and auditory identity

Philosophy and Social Criticism 35 (7):747-759 (2009)
Abstract
The article posits that philosophy’s visual bias has limited exploration of the ways in which sound, and the awareness of sound, offers an alternative framework for social change. It moves from sight to sound and from visual witnessing to sound-based wit(h)ness to illustrate the implications of sound as a form of political resistance. Combining insights from the work of Michel Foucault and Emmanuel Levinas with elements of the Black Vernacular tradition, it articulates the ways in which the blues, jazz and work songs evoke distinctive sound-based wit(h)ness to perform philosophical interventions by destabilizing the status quo, offering a nonphenotypical account of black solidarity, and transforming what counts as work
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