Date of Award

5-1-2011

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Speech Communication

First Advisor

Pelias, Ronald

Abstract

This dissertation argues for a relational ethic of listening that emphasizes the pedagogical role of the listener as a student in dialogically hearing, producing, and responding to the other. This ethic of listening works to hear possibilities amongst differences, and to ethically account for and learn from the cultural, historical, and embodied differences of the other as they are produced relationally amongst macro-structures and micro-practices. In order to develop this ethic of listening, I pay specific attention to my solo autobiographical performance, Miles away from "The Cool," in which I present my autobiographical and musical reading of the autobiography of trumpet player Miles Davis, Miles. This performance and my research regarding the music, life story, and cultural significance of Davis functions as an example for my development of a listening centered approach to pedagogy. Listening to jazz and the music of Davis provides an approach to hearing possibilities as they are enabled and constrained by larger macro-structures and specific micro-practices. I argue this approach to listening can be extended to research regarding autobiography and geographic location. Listening to autobiography and location can enable a critical and ethical understanding of the ways history, context, and power play on bodies in jazz, autobiography, location and autobiographical performance. After explaining this relational ethic of listening in terms of autobiography and jazz, I make the case for listening as a performative act in which as listeners we are always students to the other. Performative listening is a critical communicative act that works to ethically and pedagogically hear and learn from the other. Performative listening emerges from a relational ethic of listening, and it is a productive pleasure that works to hear possibilities in and amongst differences.

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