The Sound Studies Reader
Edited by Jonathan Sterne
Routledge – 2012 – 566 pages
The Sound Studies Reader blends recent work that self-consciously describes itself as ‘sound studies’ along with earlier and lesser-known scholarship on sound from across the humanities and social sciences. The Sound Studies Reader touches on key themes like noise and silence; architecture, acoustics and space; media and reproducibility; listening, voices and disability; culture, community, power and difference; and shifts in the form and meaning of sound across cultures, contexts and centuries. Writers reflect on crucial historical moments, difficult definitions, and competing accounts of the role of sound in culture and everyday life. Across the essays, readers will gain a sense of the range and history of key debates and discussions in sound studies.
The collection begins with an introduction to welcome novice readers to the field and acquaint them the main issues in sound studies. Individual section introductions give readers further background on the essays and an extensive up to date bibliography for further reading in sound studies make this an original and accessible guide to the field.
Contributors: Rick Altman, Jacques Attali, Roland Barthes, Jody Berland, Karin Bijsterveld, Barry Blesser, Georgina Born, Michael Bull, Adriana Cavarero, Michel Chion, Kate Crawford, Richard Cullen Rath, Jacques Derrida, Mladen Dolar, John Durham Peters, Kodwo Eshun, Frantz Fanon, Lisa Gitelman, Gerard Goggin, Steve Goodman, Stefan Helmreich, Michelle Hilmes, Charles Hirschkind, Shuhei Hosokawa, Don Ihde, Douglas Kahn, Friedrich Kittler, Brandon LaBelle, James Lastra, Richard Leppert, Michèle Martin, Louise Meintjes, Mara Mills, John Mowitt, R. Murray Schafer, Ana María Ochoa Gautier, John Picker, Benjamin Piekut, Trevor Pinch, Tara Rodgers, Linda-Ruth Salter, Jacob Smith, Jason Stanyek, Jonathan Sterne, Emily Thompson, Frank Trocco, Michael Veal, Alexander Weheliye
"The Reader is an excellent collection and source of inspiration for all – newcomers as well as old hands – in sound studies research that crosses disciplines, methodologies and theories. It is also a “must” for academics in the humanities and sociology who have not yet encountered or dared to incorporate sound studies in their interdisciplinary study and research." - Ansa Lønstrup, Associate professor, Aarhus University, Denmark
"The Sound Studies Reader manages to contain, in one (albeit fairly large) book, an amazing breadth of scholarly approaches to the study of sound. From phenomenological to anthropological to cultural studies to science and technology studies, the approaches range across disciplines, fields, and methodologies to offer a broad spectrum of thought on this very current topic. Alongside all of that, the choices also reflect care for writing and communication; they are accessible, readable, well-written. I have no doubt that I will be recommending this book to students frequently and for a long time to come. For those with any interest in this field, it needs to be on your shelf, if it isn't open and being actively consulted." Anahid Kassabian, University of Liverpool, UK
'The Sound Studies Reader provides so much food for thought that, in this brief space, I could only give some hints of its reach, the issues it addresses and the problems it raises. Needless to say, it will likely become a benchmark for anyone interested in this topic.' - Carlo Nardi, Dancecult
'…we begin by recommending what we think is the most useful collection on sound studies to date…The result of Sterne's stance is a refreshingly balanced anthology that unflinchingly includes a variety of critical, historical, and theoretical perspectives.' Joshua Gunn, Greg Goodale, Mike M. Hall and Rosa A. Eberly, Rhetoric Society Quarterly
1. Sonic Imaginations, Jonathan Sterne Part 1: Hearing, Listening, Deafness Introduction 2. The Auditory Dimension, Don Ihde 3. Noise: The Political Economy of Music, Jacques Attali 4. Contradicting Media: Toward a Political Phenomenology of Listening, Jody Berland 5. The Three Listening Modes, Michel Chion 6. Cassette Sermons, Aural Modernities and the Islamic Revival in Cairo, Charles Hirschkind 7. The Ontology of Vibrational Force, Steve Goodman 8. Hearing Aids and the History of Electronics Miniaturization, Mara Mills 9 Following You: Disciplines of Listening in Social Media, Kate Crawford Part 2: Spaces, Sites, -Scapes Introduction 10. The Soundscape, R. Murray Schafer 11. The Walkman Effect, Shuhei Hosokawa 13. Sound, Modernity and History, Emily Thompson 13. No Corner for the Devil to Hide, Richard Cullen Rath 14 The Soundproof Study, John Picker 15. Listening to Machines: Industrial Noise, Hearing Loss and the Cultural Meaning of Sound, Karin Bijsterveld 16. Anthropologist Underwater: Immersive Soundscapes, Submarine Cyborgs and Transductive Ethnography, Stefan Helmreich 17. Auditory Awareness as an Extension of Religion, Barry Blesser and Linda-Ruth Salter 18. The Audio-Visual iPod, Michael Bull Part 3: Transduce and Record Introduction 19. The Sound of Music in the Era of Its Electronic Reproducibility, John Mowitt 20. Four and a Half Film Fallacies, Rick Altman 21. Gramophone, Friedrich Kittler 22. Fidelity Versus Intelligibility, James Lastra 23. Shaping the Synthesizer, Trevor Pinch and Frank Trocco 24. The Recording Studio as Fetish, Louise Meintjes 25. New Media Publics, Lisa Gitelman 26. Deadness: Technologies of the Intermundane, Jason Stanyek and Benjamin Piekut Part 4: Collectivities and Couplings Introduction 27. This is the Voice of Algeria, Frantz Fanon 28. The Culture of the Telephone, Michèle Martin 29. Radiating Culture, Michelle Hilmes 30. Reach Out Someone: the Telephonic Uncanny, John Durham Peters 31. Cellular Disability: Consumption, Design and Access, Gerard Goggin 32. Social Transculturation, Epistemologies of Purification and the Aural Public Sphere in Latin America, Ana María Ochoa Gautier Part 5: The Sonic Arts: Aesthetics, Experience, Interpretation Introduction 33. Desire, Power and the Sonorous Landscape, Richard Leppert 34. Science, Technology and the Avant-Garde, Georgina Born 35. Noises of the Avant-Garde, Douglas Kahn 36. Operating System for the Redesign of Sonic Reality, Kodwo Eshun 37. Starship Africa, Michael Veal 38. Auditory Relations, Brandon LaBelle 39. Toward a Feminist Historiography of Electronic Music, Tara Rodgers Part 6: Voices Introduction 40. The Voice the Keeps Silence, Jacques Derrida 41. The Grain of the Voice, Roland Barthes 42. "Feenin": Posthuman Voices in Contemporary Black Popular Music, Alexander Weheliye 43. Multiple Voices, Adriana Cavarero 44. The Frenzy of the Audible: Pleasure, Authenticity and Recorded Laughter, Jacob Smith 45. The Linguistics of the Voice, Mladen Dolar
Jonathan Sterne teaches in the Department of Art History and Communication Studies and the History and Philosophy of Science Program at McGill University. He is author of The Audible Past: Cultural Origins of Sound Reproduction (2003), MP3: The Meaning of a Format (2012); and numerous articles on media, technologies and the politics of culture. He also makes sound. Visit his website at http://sterneworks.org.