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Accepted Paper:

Listening to underwater worlds - drifting towards a wet ontology  
Agata Stanisz (Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań)

Paper short abstract:

I will show the methodological potential of combining anthropology of sound, wet ontology, and multi-species approaches. I postulate the idea of hydroanthropology - a shift towards inclusive understanding of worlds. This inclusiveness is exceptionally clear in the practices of underwater listening.

Paper long abstract:

I will start from the turn of contemporary humanities towards global waters (seas and oceans). The paper is devoted to the methodological perspectives of hydro-anthropology. I will relate to underwater sound waves and vibrations and to the methodologically drifting anthropology project. My goal is to introduce hydro-anthropology focusing on non-human listening – listening by various actors living in an (under)water reality. I am guided by the postulate of combining the achievements of sound studies with the perspectives of the wet ontology and multi-species ethnography.

The anthropology I postulate is supposed to remove human actors from the center of reflection. The problem with the anthropologies of water and sound, however, is that despite attempts to go beyond the binary understanding of reality human beings are still at the center of attention. The answer is to follow the thought of Philip E. Steinberg and Kimberley Peters - folow the "wet" or "liquid" ontology - a perspective on the world understood as a space of flows, connections and fluidity. However, in its current form, it is not enough. The real liquefaction of reality, which would enable a new paradigm of thinking and researching aquatic sounds, must assume a kind of multi-species ethnography. As a result, the fields of research in hydro-anthropology are a combination of geo-, bio- and anthropophony analyzed from the perspective of our knowledge about the different ways of hearing and acoustic communication of various creatures inhabiting a given body of water.

Panel Envi10
Coexisting with underwater worlds
  Session 1 Saturday 10 June, 2023, -