Soundscapes: Perception and Design
Course code
old course code
Course title in Estonian
Helimaastikud: tajumine ja disain
Course title in English
Soundscapes: Perception and Design
ECTS credits
Assessment form
lecturer of 2021/2022 Autumn semester
Carlo Cubero Irizarry (language of instruction:English)
lecturer of 2021/2022 Spring semester
lecturer not assigned
Course aims
This course will explore the range of discourses and practises that seek to understand sound's relationship to social experience, from an anthropological perspective. The first half of the course will direct attention to the theoretical and discursive component of sound's role in society. It will focus on the different ways in which humans perceive sound, as a socially constructed phenomenon, and design sonic experiences. The course will also discuss how technologies of sound emerge from cultural and historical contexts. The second half of the course will feature a series of practise based exercises whose outcome is to produce a sonic ethnography.
By examining sound from a cross-cultural perspective the course will also attempt to open up a dialogue with alternative sonic practices and challenge many taken-for-granted notions underlying contemporary theories of culture.
Brief description of the course
Some themes that will be addressed in this course will be: (a) the political economy of noise, (b) cross-cultural discourses on sound perception, (c) intersections between technology and sound such as architecture, sound recordings, and experimental music, (d) copyright and sound ownership, amongst others.

The course will be broken down into the following themes:

1. Thinking about Sound
2. Acoustic Values
3. Acoustic Spaces
4. Design, Technology & Mediation
Learning outcomes in the course
Upon completing the course the student:
- is familiar with some general issues concerning “sound studies” from an anthropological perspective (students can expect to familiarise themselves with some of the analytical frameworks that have been used to understand the relationship between sound and society);
- is able to critically assess different media and disciplinary approaches (i.e., film, fiction literature, music, life-history, ethnography, and geography) dedicated to the study of sound from an anthropological perspective;
- is able to produce a sound ethnography, through a series of practise based exercises (doing a sound ethnography will introduce the student to the basic technological and epistemological issues of using non-textual media to do ethnography).
Carlo Cubero Irizarry