My Positionality: Who I am and why I do this research project

Identity influences our outlook on the world, and understanding our positionality helps us challenge our biases and privileges. By sharing this statement, I want to make my positionality as transparent and clear as possible.


Who am I?


My name is Ania Katharina Mauruschat, and I was born in 1976 in Berlin (West), Germany. I am the big sister of a four year younger brother and a godmother of two, a journalist and radio maker, and an academic researcher and teacher. I inherited my great-grandmother's name Katharina, who was a courageous and strong little woman, a single mum, and the owner of a botanical nursery in the Bavarian Forest, Germany. I graduated from the German School for Journalism and the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, Germany, with a diploma in journalism and am writing my Ph.D. at the University of Basel in Switzerland. Currently, I am a Marie Skłodowska Curie Actions Research Fellow, funded by the European Commission, at the Sound Studies Lab of the University of Copenhagen, Denmark (09/2021 - 08/2023).


Why I do the research project “Sounding Crisis. Sounds and Energies within Climate Change"?


I had three formative encounters that inspired me to develop this research project: The first one was my encounter with the American-Australian sound and energy art scholar Douglas Kahn in Katoomba in New South Wales in Australia, the homeland of the Gundungurra and Darug people, in 2017. The second encounter was a meeting in Berlin with Holger Schulze, who is a professor for sound studies at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2018. The third encounter, in the same year, was an interview that I did for an art project with the Inuit Hip Hop musician Kelly Fraser from Nunavut with the help of the radio station NCI FM in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, where I could call her from Basel, Switzerland.

Talking to Kelly and learning about her fight through music for a better future for her Inuit community touched and impressed me deeply. It raised my awareness of how she, her community, and other Indigenous peoples struggle with the traumatic ghosts of the past, which European, American, and Australian settlers and their communal European ancestors are responsible for. Through my work as a radio maker and an academic, I want to contribute to reconciliation and to carrying on Kelly’s beautiful spirit, as she sadly deceased in 2019.


In my opinion, the biggest mistake, and crime, that all former and currently colonial and colonized nation states and all nations industrialized and participating in globalization are committing in the deadly tradition of colonial exploitation is continuing the extraction of fossil fuels to meet our exorbitant and ever-increasing energy needs. The reason why Westner societies do this is that their understanding of and relationship to energies is out of balance, and they will destroy even further the beauty of this planet and large parts of life on earth if they continue to do so. Therefore, I am convinced that we need nothing less than a radical and rapid change in civilization. As the core of this change, I see a different understanding and management of energies. Being a firm believer in the manifold potential and power of sound and listening, I am convinced that by listening to the sounds of energies and for the energies in sound, we can become aware of different notions and aspects of energies and expand our understanding of and consciousness for energies. In this endeavor, Douglas Kahn and Holger Schulze are great supporters to me, which I acknowledge with gratefulness. I am equally grateful and indebted to all Indigenous and non-indigenous activists and artists for talking to me about their sound practices addressing the human-nature relationship and sharing their knowledge. Thus, they make this research project possible, which hopefully will contribute its little share to the significant challenge we face and the change we all together have to make come true globally.


Positionality wheel: The ways that differences in social position and power shape identities and access in society and thus the creation of knowledge.