IIPC Debate 24 Oct

IIPC Debate #87
Mon Oct 24, 4-6 pm, Janus Hall (Kaivokatu 12, Turku)
Professor James Deaville (Carleton University): Tracking Terror: Listening to Jihadist Recruiting Videos

Observers have characterized Western media culture as “ocularcentric” (“seeing is believing”), a bias that dates back to the early Modern age and has been reinforced by the rise of photography in the 19th century and of moving images in the 20th. However, that perspective reveals itself as myopic when considering the products of cultures like the Arabic/Islamic, which are widely recognized as “audiocentric” (Armbrust, 2013). By ignoring the soundtracks of videos that emanate from the Middle East, Western media critics stand not only to provide their readers with a partial picture but also to miss important overt and covert cues within their soundtracks. This applies all the more for “messages” to the West sent by extremist groups like Hamas and ISIS, which use the video format to strike fear into the hearts of good citizens and to find new recruits among disenchanted or disenfranchised (male) youth. This paper explores the soundtracks to Jihadist recruiting videos to uncover their components, elucidate their functions, and assess how effectively they target Western young people. As we shall observe, in the case of Jihadist audiovisual propaganda, “listening is believing.”

James Deaville (School for Studies in Art & Culture: Music, Carleton University, Canada) has published in the Journal of the American Musicological Society, Journal of the Society for American Music, Journal of Musicological Research, and Music and Politics, and has contributed to books published by Oxford, Cambridge, and Routledge, among others. He also edited Music in Television: Channels of Listening (2011). In 2012, he received a two-year grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada to explore film trailer auralities. With Dana and Gorzelany-Mostak, he has co-edited a special issue of Music and Politics about music and the 2012 presidential election in the United States. He has co-edited with Christina Baade an anthology for Oxford entitled Music and the Broadcast Experience: Performance, Production, and Audiences (out in September). He has published essays about music and the War in Iraq, the televised soundscape of war between the Vietnam and Persian Gulf Wars, and the role of music and sound in media coverage of the Occupy Movement, among other topics. He is under contract with OUP to co-edit the Oxford Handbook of Music and Advertising, and is working on a book manuscript for the University of California Press on music in cinematic trailers.