WInner of the Best First Book from the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association
Winner of the Labriola Center American Indian National Book Award
Winner of the Ann Saddlemyer Award from the Canadian Association for Theatre Research
Reimagining how we understand and write about the Indigenous listening experience
Hungry Listening is the first book to consider listening from both Indigenous and settler colonial perspectives. A critical response to what has been called the “whiteness of sound studies,” Dylan Robinson evaluates how decolonial practices of listening emerge from increasing awareness of our listening positionality. This, he argues, involves identifying habits of settler colonial perception and contending with settler colonialism’s “tin ear” that renders silent the epistemic foundations of Indigenous song as history, law, and medicine.
With case studies on Indigenous participation in classical music, musicals, and popular music, Hungry Listening examines structures of inclusion that reinforce Western musical values. Alongside this inquiry on the unmarked terms of inclusion in performing arts organizations and compositional practice, Hungry Listening offers examples of “doing sovereignty” in Indigenous performance art, museum exhibition, and gatherings that support an Indigenous listening resurgence.
Throughout the book, Robinson shows how decolonial and resurgent forms of listening might be affirmed by writing otherwise about musical experience. Through event scores, dialogic improvisation, and forms of poetic response and refusal, he demands a reorientation toward the act of reading as a way of listening. Indigenous relationships to the life of song are here sustained in writing that finds resonance in the intersubjective experience between listener, sound, and space.
"As a form of address, Hungry Listening is profoundly conscious of its multiple audiences, and enacts ethics of appropriate relationship, modeling to readers how musical scholarship can approach Indigenous creators, performers and musics in ways that respect Indigenous sovereignty and value Indigenous creations on their own terms."—Amodern
"Robinson manages to pose compelling arguments as to how much first needs to be unsettled whilst establishing the new ground needed for Indigenous sound studies to flourish."—Feminist Review
"An exemplary text which forges space for Indigenous epistemological and ontological existence through decolonial critique in the realm of sound studies."—Canadian Association of Music Libraries