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65 5th Ave, Room 411
New York, NY, 10003
United States

Funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Graduate Institute for Design, Ethnography & Social Thought at the New School incubates advanced transdisciplinary research and practice at the intersection of social theory and design and fosters dialogue on related themes across the university.


Michelle Weitzel

Michelle Weitzel is a doctoral candidate in Politics at The New School for Social Research. Her research centers on the ways in which sound represents a paradigm of political power. Her fieldwork is situated in Israel and Palestine, the Saharan Desert, southern France, and New York City.

MICHELLE WEITZEL is a doctoral candidate in Politics at the New School for Social Research. Her current research centers on the ways in which sound represents a modality of political power — a dispositif she traces in its physical instantiations from the barrier wall of Israel and Palestine, to windswept migration routes of the Saharan desert, to apartment bedrooms across New York City’s boroughs.

Sound enfolds us, saturates our bodies, and constitutes a critical part of our sensory map of the world, yet it is rarely conceptualized as explicitly political. In neglecting the audial dimension of the political realm, we fail to perceive a crucial host of governance strategies adopted by military and civilian authorities, consigning us to a partial understanding — an echo, or a fragmented refrain — from which to discern local-­level power relations, government­-civil society interactions, systems of knowledge production, and processes of globalization. As a GIDEST fellow, Michelle seeks to “tune in” to these relationships across the dimensions of citizenship, regime, and infrastructure in order to reveal the purposive targeting of the aural and explicit links between power, space, and sensory perception. Her project, The Politics of Sound: Domination and Resistance in Urban Militarized Zones, weaves together theories from sound studies, critical international relations theory, power and visuality, and military urbanism.