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  • The Materiality of Media and the Vanishing Medium

    Patrick Eisenlohr

    Chapter from the book: Eisenlohr, P. 2018. Sounding Islam: Voice, Media, and Sonic Atmospheres in an Indian Ocean World.


    Chapter 4 examines the recitation of na‘t poetry in close detail. Based on a number of examples, it provides a fine-grained analysis of the discursive and other performative dimensions of recitation. In particular, the chapter shows how participants inhabit shifting participant roles and personae in order to align themselves with the authority of Sufi scholars and saints and to express their affection for and attachment to the prophet Muhammad. Sonic qualities of the voice turn out to be of crucial significance for the success of these devotional performances. The discussion elaborates on how the materiality of sound reproduction as a medium features in the storage and reproduction of vocal sound. It is argued that in the particular Islamic context the book investigates, uses of sound reproduction technology in devotional settings have given rise to the notion of a “vanishing medium.”

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    Eisenlohr, P. 2018. The Materiality of Media and the Vanishing Medium. In: Eisenlohr, P, Sounding Islam. California: University of California Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/luminos.53.d

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    Published on June 8, 2018