The Animal Turn

S4E8: Sonic Specimen with Rachel Mundy

March 23, 2022 Claudia Hirtenfelder Season 4 Episode 8
The Animal Turn
S4E8: Sonic Specimen with Rachel Mundy
Show Notes

In this episode Claudia chats to Rachel Mundy about the concept “Sonic Specimen” they talk about the historical categorisation of sound illustrates some of the ways in which humans and animals have been hierarchically thought of. They touch on how this has shaped and is shaped by the institutional production of knowledge also hinting at the usefulness of related concepts like “animanities” and “translation”. 


Date Recorded: 10 March 2022


Rachel Mundy is an Associate Professor of Music in the Arts, Culture and Media Program at Rutgers University. She is primarily concerned with the way animal musicality has defined modern notions of life and rights in a post-climate change world. For Rachel, this is an interdisciplinary question that brings musical science into conversation with Western beliefs about race, gender, nation, and other forms of difference. In a series of nationally-recognized books, articles, and public lectures, Rachel has explored these questions through cases that connect human rights to animal voices.  Find out more about Rachel on her university website or email her questions directly ( 


Claudia (Towne) Hirtenfelder is the founder and host of The Animal Turn. She is a PhD Candidate in Geography and Planning at Queen’s University and is currently undertaking her own research project looking at the geographical and historical relationships between animals (specifically cows) and cities. She was recently awarded the AASA Award for Popular Communication for her work on the podcast. Contact Claudia via email ( or follow her on Twitter (@ClaudiaFTowne).



Animal Musicalities: Birds, Beasts, and Evolutionary Listening by Rachel Mundy; Primate Visions: Gender, Race, and Nature in the World of Modern Science by Donna Haraway; Songs of the Humpback Whale by Roger Payne and the whales; On being human as praxis by Sylvia Wynter; The Life of Reason by George Santayana.

The Animal Turn is part of the  iROAR, an Animals Podcasting Network and can also be found on A.P.P.L.E, Twitter, and Instagram


Thank you to Animals in Philosophy, Politics, Law and Ethics (A.P.P.L.E) for sponsoring this podcast; the Sonic Arts Studio and the Sonic Arts of Place Laboratory (SAPLab) for sponsoring this season; Gordon Clarke (Instagram: @_con_sol_) for the bed music, Jeremy John (Website) for the logo, and Hannah Hunter for the Animal Highlight.