Amplifying Gentrification: Contestations of Sound and Space in Brooklyn, NY


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




Across gentrifying neighborhoods in Brooklyn, noise complaints and other forms of policing against longtime residents of color are on the rise. Urban soundscapes have become critical sites of contestation over ideas about belonging, authenticity, and the right to public space. This project examines how residents in a Latinx neighborhood use sound practices to claim space and stage dissent amid rapid gentrification. Sound ethnography provides insight into the creative ways that residents and organizers reconstitute noise as protest tactic across in-person and virtual contexts. Noisiness figures centrally within demonstrations against ongoing displacement, undemocratic land policies, and increasingly techno-sensory forms of policing. The project expands popular accounts of urban sound, which focus narrowly on noise data trends, by providing insight into the social and material conditions which they reflect. And it contributes a distinctly sonic perspective within anthropological discussions of the remaking of cities through affect and racial difference, spatial governance, and cultural expression.