Assistant Professor, Anthropology
227 West Hall, 1085 S. University, Ann Arbor, MI 48109
hours: By appointment
Dr. Hsieh (謝; English pronunciation: “shay”; Mandarin pronunciation: "she-YEH") investigates sensory practices in institutional and technological settings, with an emphasis on urban East Asia. Her ethnographic sensibilities were cultivated during her time as a Congressional Page for the U.S. House of Representatives, which coincided with 9/11, and in which she witnessed the national response from within the House Chambers. This, combined with her background as a classically-trained pianist and studio audio engineer, led to her unique approach to anthropology that brings together sound and sensory studies, science and technology studies, and anthropology of the state. Dr. Hsieh uses a combination of ethnographic, historical, and experimental methods, including audio recordings, soundwalks, and GIS, to explore the multisensory configurations of human sociality. Of significance to her research is a sustained, interdisciplinary commitment to the history of technology, media and communication studies, musicology, and Asian studies. Since receiving her Ph.D. in Anthropology at Stanford in 2017, she has held research fellowships at the Vossius Center at the University of Amsterdam, the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, and the Fairbank Center at Harvard.
Her most recent book project, tentatively titled From Festival to Decibel: Making Noise in Urban Taiwan, analyzes the sociality of hearing and the production of noise as a material and discursive object in Taiwan’s environmental noise-control system. The book examines the way residents, civil servants, and environmental inspectors transform the fleeting qualities of sound into the regulatory object of noise that ties personal acts of hearing and listening with geopolitical questions of citizenship and belonging. Her work has appeared in American Ethnologist, Hau: Journal of Ethnographic Inquriy, Sound Studies Journal, and the edited volumes Testing Hearing: The Making of Modern Aurality (2020, Oxford University Press) and Resounding Taiwan: Musical Reverberations across a Vibrant Island (2021, Routledge).