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My research attends to the sonic dimensions of French and Francophone literatures and cultures,
to lay the foundations of a “Francophone Sound Studies.” To borrow from Jonathan Sterne,
“sound studies” can be defined as an interdisciplinary field that takes sound as its analytical point
of departure, and examines the complex network of technologies, discourses, institutions, and
practices that mediate the ways in which sound may produce meaning in society (The Sound
Studies Reader, 2012). In this talk, I will zoom in on one key concept from sound studies—the
“acousmatic”—to show how its theorization provides a productive framework for analyzing the
power dynamics of listening in French colonial contexts. By examining colonial and postcolonial
texts and media through an “acousmatic” lens, we may see how Francophone thinkers enrich our
understanding of listening itself.

Dr. Renée Altergott completed her PhD in French and Francophone Literature at Princeton
University last May. Her work examines the cultural and literary history of sound recording in
France and the former French Colonial Empire. Recent publications on sound, technology, and
colonialism have appeared or are forthcoming in Nineteenth-Century French Studies, French
Forum, and Contemporary French Civilization Intersections. Dr. Altergott currently holds the
position of Postdoctoral Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor of French at Wabash College in

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