William Bahng Boyer

Lecturer in Writing

My research attempts to put into words the ineffable sensory experiences that make life meaningful in important and surprisingly profound ways. As an ethnomusicologist by training, I spend the majority of my time as a professional academic reconciling separate but often parallel conversations between theorists and scholars on the one hand and, on the other, communities of people for whom music and sound play an important role in everyday life. Consequently, I find listening as central to the writing process as reading and synthesizing literature. My writing courses generally cover such topics as critical approaches to sound and music, the relationship between aesthetics and politics, and the particular challenges of writing in qualitative research methodologies. In the classroom, I help students develop their own voices as writers, understand the ethics of representing others, and enter into ongoing academic conversations with an appropriate balance of confidence and humility.

Sanborn 207
HB 6240
Institute for Writing and Rhetoric
B.Mus. Northwestern University
M.A. University of California, San Diego
Ph.D. New York University

Selected Publications

“Nortec Collective.” In The Grove Dictionary of American Music. Second Edition. Ed. Charles Hiroshi Garrett. (2014, Oxford University Press).

“Urban Echoes: The Boombox and Sonic Mobility in the 1980s.” With Joseph Schloss. In The Oxford Handbook of Mobile Music and Sound Studies. Eds. Sumanth Gopinath and Jason Stanyek. (2014, Oxford University Press).

“Subways.” With Stephan Hoehne. In The Encyclopedia of Urban Studies. Ed. Ray Hutchison. (2009, Sage Press).

“A Curious Circumstance of the iPod Shuffle.” Mediascape: Journal of Cinema and Media Studies 1(3), 2007.

“The Evolution of Mapping the Beat: A History and Geography through Music Curriculum at the University of California, San Diego, ArtsBridge America Program.” With Nina Sun Eidsheim and Jenny Scholl. Journal for Learning Through the Arts 1(1), 2006.    

Speaking Engagements

"Sound Investments: Commuting as Affective Community in the New York City Subway.” American Comparative Literature Association Annual Meeting. New York, New York, March 2014.

"Mariachis and crowds in Plaza Garibaldi, Mexico City, November 21, 2009" (4'; 09") included in the exhibition of the symposium, Resonant Bodies: Landscapes of Acoustic Tension. ICI Berlin Institute for Cultural Inquiry, June 13-15, 2013.

"A Philadelphia Soundwalk." The Society for Ethnomusicology & Congress on Research and Dance 56th Annual Conference, "Moving Music / Sounding Dance." Philadelphia, PA, November, 2011.

“Public Hearings and Sonic Encounters in the New York City Subway” . American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting. New Orleans, Louisiana, November 2010.

“Unearthing Noise: Unwanted Soundscapes of the New York City Subway.” American Comparative Literature Association Annual Meeting. New Orleans, Louisiana, April 2010.

“Blasting the Ghetto: Boomboxes and the Spilling Over of Portable Audio.” The Society for Ethnomusicology 54th Annual Conference. Mexico City, Mexico, November, 2009.

Works in Progress

Public Hearing: Sonic Encounters and Social Responsibility in the New York City Subway System