My SPEP 2015 Paper: Noisy Feminists, Neoliberal Sophrosyne, & Post-Identity Politics

It’s time for SPEP this year, and that means it’s time for me to post the text of my paper (that’s link to a gdoc). My session is Thursday afternoon, and I’ll be doing the typical Robin thing where I take a nerdy music theory point and spin that into an analysis of contemporary gender politics. This time, I’ll be talking about changing conceptions of “loud” women/femininity. Here’s the abstract:


Noisy Feminists, Neoliberal Sophrosyne, & Post-Identity Politics
Considering the role of feminine/ized noise in ancient Greek philosophy and in post-identity neoliberal society, I update Anne Carson’s account of social harmony, sophrosyne, and voice in “The Gender of Sound” to reflect not ancient Greek, but contemporary acoustics’ understanding of harmony. Sophrosyne is a technology of post-feminist patriarchy. White post-feminist noise maintains a harmonious society, one tuned to synthesize the range and variability of noisy interactions from which white supremacist patriarchy will reliably emerge as signal. Conversely, those who call out systemic sexism and racism are accused of the same flaws attributed to overcompressed music: invariant loudness.