Jennifer Heuson

Grant Type

Fejos Postdoctoral Fellowship

Institutional Affiliation

Independent Scholar

Grant number

Gr. 9388

Approve Date

October 18, 2016

Project Title

Heuson, Dr. Jennifer Lynn, Independent Scholar, Princeton, NJ - To aid filmmaking on 'Sounding Western: Aural Sovereignty in a Sacred Land' - Fejos Postdoctoral Fellowship

Preliminary abstract: Located in western South Dakota, the Black Hills are home to Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Memorials, the town of Deadwood, the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, and the site of Wounded Knee, an enduring symbol of cultural genocide. Tourism is big business in South Dakota, and like elsewhere in the American West, it relies upon producing experiences that draw heavily from frontier histories and mythologies. The aural modes used to produce frontier experience in the region are the most crucial and undertheorized aspects of tourist production, aspects with profound consequences for the future cultural, political, and economic sovereignty of Lakota Nations. Through the aural stances enacted at tourist venues in the Black Hills, Lakota peoples and lands are consistently exploited and colonized. They are protected as valuable, spiritual silences and made inaudible by the noise and sound of technological processes. These processes, in turn, shape non-Natives as active participants in sounded culture. Through a short film, website, and collaborative workshop, this project will generate a direct intervention in the tourist production practices of the region. The project will act as a document of the existence and stakes of aural sovereignty in one of the most sacred, contested, and popular tourist regions in the United States. It will also serve as a pivotal training case for the future forms of Indigenous tourism and for the increasing relevance of critical forms of sensing to ethnographic practice and media making.