Sonic gentitud : literary migrations of the listening citizen



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“Sonic Gentitud” brings American Indian and Chicana/o literatures into sound studies as testimonials to decolonial and transformative listening practices. I argue that the narrative forms and paratexts in Leslie Marmon Silko’s Ceremony (1977), Sandra Cisneros’s Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories (1991), Sherman Alexie’s Reservation Blues (1995), and Nina Marie Martínez’s ¡Caramba!: A Tale Told in Turns of the Card (2004) remap the cognitive space of sonic (re)production by offering textual and graphic representations of sound and listening. Understanding this articulation of the literary to the sonic as a form of audile realism, I highlight the listening citizen as a prominent figure in literary renderings of enduring Laguna, Spokane, Chicana/o, and Greater Mexican community-formation and growth. A self-consciously aesthetic narrative depiction that links embodied practices of listening to the historical, material, and political contours and discourses of a specific locale, audile realism represents subversive and differential listening practices that transform social networks of sonic (re)production such that they serve the interests of the tribal nation or Greater Mexican community. Listening citizens are thus critical actors in the maintenance of gentitud, a form of community- and network-building that recognizes affiliation as always-already performed across differences of race, class, gender, and/or sexuality.