Symbiosis International University Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts

Soundscapes of Pune City

Faculty Course Type Credits Prerequisites Semester
Mr. Justin Scarimbolo Elective 4 None Any

 Brief Overview 

The city resounds with sounds, all profoundly connected to social and cultural identities. Our goal in this course will be to explore the complex interactions between sound, place and culture by first listening to and documenting the soundscapes of the city and their possible meanings. How does sound, which includes but is not limited to music, echo, amplify, drown out, clash with and otherwise make audible peoples’ everyday engagement with the larger forces that structure society? Towards this question, students will develop, through a series of staged assignments, mini-ethnographies of sound that will contribute to an ongoing, publicly accessible, web-based archive. Students will gain skills in fieldwork methods and ethnographic writing as well as an understanding of the issues that inform these practices. They will, it is hoped, leave this course better prepared to evaluate the “found sounds” they will encounter throughout their lives, and to creatively to engage them as responsible members of global and local communities.

 Course Objectives 

Students will be able to-

  • Identify various ways in which sound interacts with place and culture.
  • Gain familiarity with fieldwork methods, techniques of ethnographic writing and the issues that inform these practices.
  • Employ the methods learned in class to construct a mini-ethnography of a local soundscape.

 Teaching Methodology 

The first half of this course will focus on theories of sound and place, fieldwork methods, and techniques of ethnographic representation. This will be done through readings, listening, and in some cases, experiential activities that take us out of the classroom. As the course progresses, students will spend more and more time at the site of their fieldwork and in doing reading targeted more directly to their individual projects. The class meetings will be conducted “seminar” style, meaning that each student will, in consultation with the instructor, take responsibility for directing at least one class session on the salient points of the reading and assignment for that day. We will make use of the course website to make weekly postings and to respond to the posts of others. Thus, the class as a whole will be conducted across the physical and virtual classrooms as well as the out-of-class fieldwork site.


Students are expected to –

  • Complete all required reading for each scheduled class as per the course outline,
  • Actively participate in class activities and discussions, and
  • Complete all evaluative processes for successful course completion!