Organized Panel Session
With interdisciplinary approaches based in ethnomusicology, media studies, and the history of technology, this panel’s four papers cross national and temporal borders to discuss the affective role of the gendered voice. As a slippery zone of encounters between subjects and objects, voice is a particularly fruitful site for interrogating willfully determined categories such as gender and sexuality in modern Asia. We aim to decenter our studies from historical and ethnographic objects toward subjectivities of listening and sounding and situate ourselves as listeners to those occluded by previous scholarship. Laurie Lee will discuss the recorded voices of kisaeng (female entertainers) in colonial Korea, and how their widely circulated voices became an intense site for the elite listening public to work out their fears both of new sound technologies, and of women’s proliferating presence and sexualities. Chaeyoung Lee attends to issues of the sonic representation and imaginaries of the North Korean state by focusing on newscaster Ri Chun-hee’s announcing style, which is often called “the voice of the evil regime” in Western media. Pei-ling Huang examines how devotional singers and listeners at a Sufi shrine in Pakistan “capture” the affect of a new vocal technique as “voice of pain,” and how the male practitioners have introduced gendered interpretations of this voice to reinforce their recently consolidated sectarian identity. Finally, Kimberlee Sanders explores how vocal playfulness in late night radio broadcasts in 1960-70s Japan allowed young people to explore issues of gender and sexuality while also policing the borders between masculinity and femininity.