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UofM professor talks about award-winning research

Amanda Nell Edgar, UofM associate professor in the communication and film department, was recently named the 2021 recipient of the Karl R. Wallace Memorial Award for her book, “Silenced: Racial Justice and Sonic Relationality.”

This particular award is an early career research award, which is over the whole body of her research. The project that Dr. Edgar received the award for is in the proposal stage, so she was not able to talk much about it other than its focus.

“What I am setting out to do is thinking about the way we use particular terms that are associated with sound to communicate what we’re trying to do in social justice circles,” Edgar explained.

Some of the phrases that Edgar was referring to are: “Their voices were silenced,” “My voice was silenced,” “I want to give a voice to…”

“The argument that I’m going to try to make, based on what I’ve looked at so far, is that when we use these sound-based terms, all of these things center on the person that’s talking rather than the person who is supposedly being silenced,” Edgar said. 

Edgar’s case is that we have to think about whenever people are using these sound-based terms, that they represent relationships. 

Dr. Edgar has recently been working alongside her colleague who is also an associate professor in the communication and film department, Dr. Andre E. Johnson, on a project titled, “The Summer of 2020: George Floyd and the Resurgence of the Black Lives Matter Movement.”

The two professors  interviewed people from around the country who participated in any way during the Black Lives Matter movement that occurred in the summer of 2020. They asked why and how they joined the protest.

Edgar would like her research to push academics to study the relationship between rhetoric and social justice movements, allowing them to think outside of the box of current terminology.

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