Dirty Ears: Hearing And Hearings In The Canadian Liberal Settler Colony
R. Murray Schafer
Despite vocal opposition from the indigenous people, public hearing processes in Canada play an important part in determining whether or not oil and gas pipeline development projects will be approved. Attention to hearing as an aesthetic and political practice has been theorized by the Canadian composer and sound theorist R. Murray Schafer as a fundamental part of culture and nation building. This dissertation explores the ways the Canadian government and settler society use hearing as a silencing technique, mobilizing the field of aurality to place limits on the expression of indigenous dissent. The research is based on two years of ethnographic work among activists fighting oil and gas development in Vancouver, and indigenous sovereigntists resisting pipelines in the province of British Columbia’s north. Juxtaposing case studies from different struggles over land use in British Columbia with a deconstruction of R. Murray Schafer’s writings and select compositions, this dissertation shows how the field of aurality shapes land and people.