Lilia Kilburn

Lilia Kilburn

Department of Anthropology
liliakilburn@g.harvard.edu

Lilia Kilburn is a doctoral student in anthropology at Harvard. She also holds an SM in Comparative Media Practice from MIT, where she previously worked as a projectionist, and a BA in anthropology from Amherst College. Her writing on media has appeared in Senses of Cinema and Criticism and is forthcoming in Camera Obscura. Her media practice and ethnographic work have often oriented toward sound and the voice, especially the various self-improvement projects people undertake via their voices—what it means to “sound like oneself” or to sound out new selves via forms of vocal practice.  Her current project tracks Cameroonian students who wrestle with racialized notions of vocal articulateness and reasonableness in their encounters with students from the global North alongside colonial archives of black noise. In her collaborative media work with those students, they are currently exploring what happens when self-improvement projects fail—when a person works hard to change themselves so as to access a particular social good, when self-change is successful but that social good never arrives, what kinds of possibilities for structural critique do such experiences open up?