Associate Professor of Literature Pavitra Sundar recently published Listening with a Feminist Ear (University of Michigan Press, 2023). The book, which focuses on mainstream Bombay cinema, identifies singing, listening, and speaking as key sites in which gendered notions of identity and difference take form.
Charting new paths through seven decades of film, media, and cultural history, Sundar identifies key shifts in women’s playback singing voices and the Islamicate genre of the qawwali. She also conceptualizes spoken language as sound, and turns up the volume on a capacious, multilingual politics of belonging that scholarly and popular accounts of nation typically render silent.
Listening with a Feminist Ear offers a critical sonic sensibility that reinvigorates debates about the gendering of voice and body in cinema, and the role of sound and media in conjuring community. Thanks to the generous support of Hamilton College, the book is available as an open-access volume.