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Feb 8 2023

Listening Intersectionally to Gentrification in Washington, D.C.


Lecture by Allie Martin
Assistant Professor at Dartmouth College

Gentrification is often considered through a visual lens, where development, progress, and neighborhood change are seen; or, as London sociologist Ruth Glass wrote while coining the term: “a gleam of affluence” (1964). But what does gentrification sound like? In this talk, I outline a framework of “intersectional listening” in order to explore what gentrification sounds like in Washington, DC, specifically how Black people throughout the city are experiencing gentrification as a sonic, racialized process. Drawing on songs, musicians, and the streets themselves, I consider how we might shift conversations about how we listen to Black life: by centering Black feminist listening practices, by thinking through digital modes of listening, and by imagining emancipatory soundscapes.

Allie Martin is an ethnomusicologist and artist from Prince George’s County, Maryland. She is currently an assistant professor at Dartmouth College in the Music Department and the Cluster for Digital Humanities and Social Engagement. Her work is attuned to questions of race, sound, and power. Her forthcoming first book, Intersectional Listening: Gentrification and Black Sonic Life in Washington, DC, explores the relationships between race, sound, and gentrification in Washington, DC. Her work has been supported by the Ford Foundation, the Smithsonian Institution, the Society for American Music, and the American Musicological Society. Martin is the director of the Black Sound Lab at Dartmouth College, a research environment dedicated to amplifying Black life and decriminalizing Black sound through digital practice.

Part of the Nazir Ali Jairazbhoy Colloquium Series, this event is sponsored by The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music Department of Ethnomusicology, with support from the Dean of the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music.

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