Birdsall abstract – Københavns Universitet

ESSA2014: Mapping the Field > Documents > Birdsall abstract

Keynote speaker Carolyn Birdsall
Archives of Sound: Broadening the Perspective
Sound Studies finds itself in a particularly interesting moment, with a growing tendency towards canonisation, as evidenced by a number of high profile readers and handbooks mapping the field. This lecture will reflect on recent developments within this interdisciplinary field, and argue for further critical reflection on the role of archives for sound research. In the first part, I will compare trends in presenting sound in recent online initiatives (e.g. sound maps) and print media. The second part will identify non-institutional collections and non-fictional genres that can be productively analysed as alternative archives for the field. I will argue that this attention to sound archiving should not be reduced to questions of preservation and access, but also prompt further efforts at multi-modal analysis in Sound Studies research.

Carolyn Birdsall is Assistant Professor in Media Studies, University of Amsterdam, and is currently a visiting scholar at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin. Her publications include Nazi Soundscapes: Sound, Technology and Urban Space in Germany, 1933-1945 (2012) and the co-edited volumes Sonic Mediations: Body, Sound, Technology (2008) and Inside Knowledge: (Un)doing Ways of Knowing in the Humanities (2009). Birdsall's current research focuses on the history of sound archiving in German broadcasting, with a related interest in concepts of "documentary sound" in European radio and sound film. (