This essay considers what might be gained by tuning into the sounds of Algiers as presented in early modern Iberian captivity narratives. Many of these texts were penned by rescued Christian captives who recorded their experiences as prisoners and slaves in Algiers. Attention to the sonic dimension of Algiers's urban spaces is essential, especially given that writers such as Miguel de Cervantes and fellow captive Portuguese cleric Antonio de Sosa had limited freedom to roam about the city. Their accounts, nonetheless, provided some of the most popular and widely diffused portrayals of Algiers during the early modern period. This article examines the multiple soundtracks imbedded in captivity narratives as a way of understanding how listening to these texts reveals the complexities and contradictions of an anti-Muslim world-view that also provides a portrait of diverse social and political relations in the booming multiethnic, multilingual port city in North Africa. Given that much of the surveillance and repression of Muslims and Moriscos (Muslims forced to convert to Catholicism) in Spain relied on listening to the sounds of cultural practices deemed heretical and anti-assimilationist, this essay considers how past acoustic training impacted what and how Christian captives heard in Algiers.


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pp. 96-128
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