Whale calling

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


In Zakes Mda's novel The Whale Caller, the protagonist establishes an intimate relationship with a whale by playing music on a horn. This article considers Mda's novel alongside ethnographic work with the book's “real-world” referent in Hermanus, South Africa. What do whales hear when they hear us? Are whales musical creatures? Deploying an eclectic method, I examine possible answers to these questions in an effort to think about music and sound beyond the human. In our era of ecological destruction and anti-Black violence, human-animal interactions offer important insights into what we have in common and how we share the earth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)350-373
Number of pages24
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Music


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