The Aural City: Sensory Politics in the Making of Gulu, Uganda


ACLS Fellowship Program


The Aural City examines the sensory environmental politics of a city in-the-making. In July 2020, Gulu was one of seven cities in Uganda to be elevated to city-status. Gulu’s trajectory to becoming a city has been marked by rapid infrastructural development, its place as a regional hub for transport, and its growing popular culture industry, as well as debates about noise and what, exactly, makes a city. Based on ethnographic research with city planners, car mechanics, and music producers, along with analyses of archival documents, oral histories, and soundscape recordings, this project asks what sounding and listening, as relational practices, reveal about the enduring qualities of the city as a place. Situated between anthropology, sound studies, Africana studies, feminist theory and science and technology studies, this work contends with the felt dimensions that make cities more and less livable. The project has written (book) and audio (installation) components.