History within Sound Studies – Københavns Universitet

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ESSA2014: Mapping the Field > Documents > History within Sound S...

History within Sound Studies and Sound Studies within History: Towards a Cohesive Methodology
Maarten Walraven & Kaarina Kilpiö

As the general CFP for this conference explains, Sound Studies is not so much a field, but ‘an inter-disciplinary transit zone.’ Yet, within the discipline of History there are a growing number of scholars working to make history more audible, which requires specific methodologies to uncover the sounds from the past in what are often written, printed and visual, archives. Historians have frequently justified their work by setting it up against a perceived ocularcentrism. This panel, however, aims to demonstrate that studying sound has more to add than balancing out the sensory scale. What historians seem to agree on when it comes to sound is that contextualisation is important (Smith 2001; Sterne 2003; Morat 2010). This panel will bring together historians working on past soundscapes from different periods to encourage the development of a more integrated methodology. In order to achieve this, we ask for submissions which focus on either ‘methods’ or ‘methodologies’ but move beyond the speculative and present their approach through a case study. We hope that this will trigger discussions that explore what historians can take from sound studies broadly, as well as providing a springboard towards building a consensus for what historians need to consider when they approach the echoes in the archive. 


Panel V: History within Sound Studies and Sound Studies within History I
Chair: Kaarina Kilpiö
Time: Friday 15-17

  • Fischer, Sabine von: A Visual Imprint of Moving Air - Architectural Sound Photography, 1912–1950 
  • Mansell, James: Sound and Selfhood: Historical Perspectives from Early Twentieth-Century Britain
  • Walraven, Maarten: Migrant Identity in Silence: Ruhrpolen and Germans, 1880-1914


Panel XI: History within Sound Studies and Sound Studies within History II
Chair: Maarten Walraven
Time: Saturday 9-11

  • Benjamin, Jeff: Proposal for a New Descriptive Language of Sound
  • Kilpiö, Kaarina: Selling with Sound