Sound Justice Lab

Spring 2021 GPOD Grant Recipient

Nomi Dave (Music), Anne Coughlin (Law), Bremen Donovan (Anthropology), Bonnie Gordon (Music), and Liezl Vergara (Anthropology)

The Sound Justice Lab is a newly formed collective of students and faculty bridging law and the humanities at UVa. By ‘sound justice’ we draw attention to justice that is thorough and based on good reasoning; but also, to emerging modes and areas of scholarship that explore law’s connection with the auditory and other non-textual experience and media. We consider how justice claims, evidence, and advocacy take form and act in the world beyond words and texts. Our approach builds on recent work on ‘acoustic jurisprudence’, which argues that the law is always implicated in sound. We aim to develop existing and new collaborations within the University and with lawyers, advocates, artists, and other community partners, to explore the sonic dimensions of legal and extra-legal processes, and the role of sound, voice, noise, and hearing in shaping ideas of and claims for justice. What does justice mean, evoke, and promise for different people in particular places? How are justice claims continually made outside of the legal system and in everyday life, through stories, political actions, and art? What are the voices and narratives that are often left out of formal proceedings? In pursuing these and other questions, our projects – from research to teaching to creative work – take interpretive and humanistic approaches to the law, in varying contexts across the globe.