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Radio and the Voice of the Aymara People

Aymara March Wiphala

Radio Accion2Welcome back to our continuing series on radio in the Caribbean and Latin America: Radio de Acción. A consideration of the multilingual history of radio from Cuba, Jamaica, and Haiti to the Southern Cone and beyond, Radio de Acción turns this week to the Aymara in Peru, Chile, and especially Bolivia in a fascinating piece from anthropologist Karl Swinehart.

If you missed our first post, Alejandra Bronfman’s stunning history of radio and violence in the Caribbean, you can find it here. In the meantime, keep your dials tuned to Karl Swinehart’s study of the micropolitics of language and power on Aymaran radio.

- Guest Editor Tom McEnaney

“What do you like most about working at this radio station?” was a simple question I had asked Celia Colque Quispe, an Aymara language radio broadcaster on Radio San Gabriel in El Alto, Bolivia during an interview I conducted in 2007 as part of my dissertation research on Aymara-language media. Her response was simple, but profound.

“Clearly, here, being Aymara. I like to be Aymara.”

"Celia aymar arump irnaqi" by Flickr user Swinehart, all rights reserved

Celia Colque Quispe; photo by the author, all rights reserved

Quispe came to Radio San Gabriel from a small, rural community on the shores of Lake Titicaca. One day, she had heard an announcement on the radio that Radio San Gabriel would be hiring personnel through an open selection process involving an Aymara language fluency assessment. Competing against university-trained linguists and graduates of communications programs, Quispe stood out for her eloquent Aymara speech and was hired, beginning a career in radio where she came to not only to work as an announcer, but as a member of the Aymara Language Department where she wrote and approved scripts for the station’s programs. Stories like this are not unusual at Radio San Gabriel, but are otherwise rare in this multilingual Andean republic, still profoundly marked by anti-Indian racism. What “being Aymara” means in Bolivia remains highly contested. One thing was clear from my conversation with Quispe, however—her work at the radio allows her “to be Aymara.”

The presence of the Aymara language on Bolivian airwaves contrasts sharply with its general absence within other Bolivian media. There are some notable exceptions: Bolivian state television occasionally runs Aymara language programming on programs like Entre Culturas (‘Between Cultures’), and, famously, the neorealist director Jorge Sanjinés’ work has dramatized the struggles of highland Aymara and Quechua Indians in films like Yawar Mallku (Blood of the condor) and Nación Clandestina (Clandestine Nation).

These are exceptions, however, that prove the rule of Spanish language dominance within Bolivian television and film, leaving radio to stand out as the medium that most reflects the country’s multilingualism. In this post we will tune in to Radio San Gabriel, Bolivia’s oldest and most prominent Aymara language radio station, to ask how Aymara language radio might not just reflect Bolivia’s multilingualism, but also actively intervene in it, shaping how Aymaras hear their own language.

Aymaras and Bolivia

Geographic Distribution of the Aymara language, public domain

Geographic distribution of the Aymara language, public domain

The Aymaras are one of the the largest ethnolinguistic groups within Bolivia, a nation that is now officially a “Plurinational State” in which 36 indigenous languages are recognized as co-official with Spanish. Aymara is among the most widely spoken of these and Aymaras constitute a majority of the population in a contiguous territory surrounding the nation’s capital of La Paz, and crossing national borders into neighboring Chile and Peru. With approximately two and a half million people (and many more than this if speaking Aymara is removed as a criterion of ethnicity), Bolivia has the largest concentration of Aymaras in the region. Perhaps because Bolivia’s political capital sits within Aymara territory or because of their sheer numbers with respect to other indigenous populations, the Aymara have long played a significant role in Bolivian politics. Increasing the presence of the Aymara language in public space, on the airwaves or otherwise, is thus a prominent component of a multifaceted politics of indigenous resurgence in contemporary Bolivia.

Aymar Markan Arupa – “The Voice of the Aymara People” – Radio San Gabriel

As Bolivia’s first and longest running Aymara language radio station, Radio San Gabriel (RSG) calls itself “Aymar markan arupa” (the voice of the Aymara people). In the wake of the 1952 Bolivian revolution, a major social upheaval in which miners’ militias played a crucial role, Maryknoll Jesuit priests founded RSG in 1955 with aims of Christian evangelization within a broader effort at  rural uplift. RSG’s mission was also in line with the new government’s hopes of integrating indigenous rural communities into national political life. Jesuits had experience with radio in mining communities, a broadcasting milieu dominated by radical syndicalist and communist political currents, where Jesuits had also founded radio stations of their own. Although miners are remembered as the central protagonists in the 1952 revolution, also crucial to its victory were the highland indigenous communities who overturned nearly feudal relations of the haciendas through insurrectionary land expropriations.

"DSCN0153" by Flickr user Swinehart, all rights reserved

The offices and studios of Radio San Gabriel in El Alto, Bolivia; photo by the author, all rights reserved

In its early days, RSG approached the Aymara language as a bridge to Spanish language literacy and integration into the mainstream of the Catholic faith, an approach consistent with a mid-twentieth century view which formulated the “the Indian problem” as one of national integration. Yet these early assimilationist efforts would quickly change due to both developments in the Catholic Church, such as the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) and the rise of “liberation theology,” and also political ferment in Bolivia in opposition to military rule. During the 1970s radical Aymara nationalism, or katarismo, was on the rise, finding institutional expression through organizations like the Movimiento Revolucionario Tupak Katari (MRTK, ‘Revolutionary Movement Tupak Katari’), and the founding of the Confederación Sindical Única de Trabajadores Campesinos Bolivianos (CSUTSB, ‘Trade Union Confederation of Rural Workers of Bolivia’) under katarista leadership in 1979.

"Tawana Chakana" by Wikimedia user Huhsunq, CC BY-SA 2.5

“Tawa Chakana” by Wikimedia user Huhsunq, CC BY-SA 2.5

Influenced by Aymara nationalism, RSG made a dramatic shift in its orientation towards Aymara language and culture. Their adoption of an Aymara-centric idiom resonated with other nationalist currents, while maintaining Maryknoll Jesuit aims of social justice and service to the poor by reformulating “liberation theology” as a “theology of inculturation.” Practices earlier demonized by the Catholic Church as pagan were now celebrated as being essentially Christian—with the spilled blood of a sacrificed llama, for example, recast as analogous to the wine of the sacrament. This remains in many ways the orientation of RSG today, and the station positions itself as an authority on questions of Aymara linguistic and cultural authenticity.

Broadcast language – dehispanicized “pure” Aymara

One of the ways that RSG’s authority becomes audible to its Aymara audience is through the language used on the air. On RSG, radio announcers speak without using Spanish loan words, using what radio announcers and other Aymaras refer to as “Aymara puro” (pure Aymara). This is ensured through the radio’s Aymara Language Department, which intervenes prior to each broadcast by either writing or editing scripts, and is responsible, along with the radio’s director, for these scripts’ ultimate approval. However, its responsibilities do not end with broadcasts’ content. The department is also responsible for a protocol extending through and beyond the actual broadcasts called seguimiento, or “following.”

Seguimiento involves two procedures: the real-time monitoring of broadcasts for “aberrations,” and a follow-up interaction with those who utter them on air.The department finds alternatives or invents neologisms for the many loan words in Aymara from Spanish. These loan words include words as common as the verb “to speak”—parlaña from the sixteenth-century Spanish parlar—and are testament to 500 years of contact with Spanish. Contact, of course, is a euphemism for what was first colonial and later republican subjugation, making the aberración serve as a linguistic reminder of this painful history. This is why, rather than simply “Aymara puro,” a more apt term might be deshispanized Aymara. While Spanish loan words are purged from the broadcasts, many words shared between Quechua and Aymara escape the protocols of seguimiento, even though these also likely entered the language as the result of earlier subjugation of the Aymara under the Inca Empire. It was not the Inca period, however, but the domination of all Indians, whether Quechua, Aymara, or otherwise, by the Spanish under the colony, then by their descendants during the Republican period and into the 21st century that has most profoundly shaped Bolivia’s dynamics of race and class and, it turns out, the linguistic phenomena that accompanying them, leaving the loan word, the aberración, to be understood as the residue of this history.

"Plaza de la Cruz" by Flickr user Swinehart, all rights reserved

Outside the studios of Radio San Gabriel in El Alto, Bolivia; photo by the author, all rights reserved

Decolonization over the Airwaves

Is the linguistic purism of the RSG any different from that of, say, the Academie Française? In terms of aims and procedures, much remains the same—both groups identify loan words and push for consensus to implement neologisms. Such a comparison, however, would obscure the starkly different social context in which this process unfolds in Bolivia. If “protecting” the language is commensurate with protecting the people, at RSG, this means targeting loanwords that serve as reminders of the painful processes of colonialism. In this light, many at RSG understand their work as fitting within a larger project of decolonization, a project not without its contradictions or ironies, particularly considering the role of the Catholic Church in both the past and the present. I explore these ironies more in a longer ethnographic account of the process of seguimiento at RSG.

Whatever the ironies, RSG’s cultivation of a model of refinement in Aymara speech has created opportunities for people who are otherwise profoundly marginalized in Bolivian society, particularly rural women, to advance professionally in a labor market that too often shuts them out. Where Celia Colque Quispe’s wearing of long braids, broached shawl, and full pollera skirt of rural Aymara women, for example, would have her barred from other employment whose job descriptions might demand of employees a euphemistically racist and sexist requirement of buena presencia, at RSG her traditional dress and status as a rural Aymara woman was valued and bolstered her authority within the institution. In a society still steeped in legacies of colonialism, it is no wonder, then, that what Quispe likes most about her work is simply that she can be Aymara.

In the broader media landscape, stations like RSG surely fill a gaping hole of Aymara language programming. Yet as “the voice of the Aymara people” extends across the high plain, radio introduces new absences: the absence of speech deemed too marked by colonialism to appear on air. Linguistically, then, the static on the frequencies of Aymara language airwaves are many. Both the neologisms of the voices cultivated for the airwaves and the incursion of Spanish into the speech of those whose tongues are less trained complicate any notion that the voice of the radio resonates free of the static of history.

Featured image: Aymaras marching to commemorate the uprising and massacre of 1921 in Jesús de Machaca, La Paz.

Karl Swinehart is Collegiate Assistant Professor and Harper-Fellow at the University of Chicago. He is currently working on a manuscript on hip-hop in Bolivia, Clear, Hidden Voices: Language, Indigeneity and Hip-Hop in Bolivia. He is a linguistic anthropologist with interests in media, popular music, social movements, racialization and multilingualism. He is co-editor of Languages and Publics in Stateless Nations, a special issue of Language and Communication. His work can also be found in the Journal of Linguistic Anthropology, Language in Society, and Social Text

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Radio de Acción: Violent Circuits, Contentious Voices: Caribbean Radio Histories

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Radio Accion2

This month Sounding Out! inaugurates a four-part series slated to appear on the Thursday stream into May entitled “Radio de Acción”: Broadcasting in Latin America and the Caribbean, edited by Cornell Assistant Professor in Comparative Literature Tom McEnaney.

Tom has been a key contributor to SO! over the years — check out his articles on Orson Welles and Twin Peaks, two excellent and vivid pieces I wish I could’ve written. We’re excited to have Tom as our guide to the many frequencies of Latin American and Caribbean radio, helping us “tune North American antennas South for a while,” as he proposes in his series introduction below. Gather round, dear listeners, I think the transmission’s about to start …

– SCMS/ASA Special Editor Neil Verma

It’s difficult to keep the radius of radio within national boundaries. Or so it has often seemed in the Americas. The first Argentine broadcast, on August 27, 1920, transmitted a performance of Wagner’s Parisfal that accidentally reached ships in Brazil. Border radio in Spanish and English has bled across the frontiers between Mexico and the United States since at least the early 1930s. And if listeners from Alabama to Washington State tuned their shortwave receivers right in the early 1960s, they would have heard the exiled civil rights activists Robert F. and Mabel Williams’ famous tag line: “You are tuned to Radio Free Dixie, from Havana, Cuba, where integration is an accomplished fact.”

In Spanish, “radio” can mean the sonic broadcasting it denotes in English, but also radium, the spoke of a wheel, a radius (and the bone of the same name), an orbit, or a sphere of influence. Our series title, Radio de Acción, plays on an inter-linguistic pun, which takes the “radius of action” or “area of operations” the phrase connotes in Spanish, and thinks of radio broadcasting as changing the cultural, historical and political fields it engages through particular types of “radio action.”

Acknowledging language’s role in widening or narrowing that radius, the four posts in this special series help tune our ears to a diversity of voices from Latin America and the Caribbean. Over the next few months Radio de Acción will explore the multilingual history of radio in the Caribbean, an Aymara / Spanish talk show in Bolivia, a Cuban-born writer’s radio dramas produced in German, and the Spanish / English radio program Radio Ambulante, which its creators describe as “This American Life, but in Spanish, and transnational.” Featuring posts from Alejandra Bronfman, Karl Swinehart, and Carolina Guerrero, our series sets out to turn North American antennas South for a while.

I’m especially excited to begin the series by welcoming University of British Columbia History Professor, Alejandra Bronfman, whose extraordinary story of radio in the Caribbean below serves as an ideal overture to Radio de Acción. Don’t move that dial.—

– TM

The most striking example of radio’s power in the political dramas of the Caribbean took place in Havana, Cuba in March of 1957. A group of student activists opposed to the Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista’s regime attempted to assassinate him and simultaneously occupied one of Havana’s most popular stations, Radio Reloj. Locking out the broadcasters, who usually spent the day reading the news and announcing the time every minute on the minute, the activists declared Batista’s death, and their victory. It may be that their plan depended precisely on the uncertainty they created. Whether Batista was actually dead mattered less than the reaction they hoped to incite with their declaration. Batista did not die that day; the students’ plot was foiled; and the attempt ended in death for most of the assailants. However, the failure was only temporary—another group of radio rebels would overthrow Batista less than two years later—and the 1957 takeover cemented radio’s undisputed role as bearer of truth and center of power.

In this post I consider radio’s relationship to violence in connection to its creation of truth, mendacity and illusion. Radio publics in the Caribbean emerged amidst conflict, and, as the 2000 assassination of the Haitian broadcaster Jean Dominique suggests, there is still much at stake in their existence as arbiters of political practice and cultural affiliation.

In the earliest years, radio competed for attention in Caribbean soundscapes full of talk and music rooted in the legacies of slavery. In Haiti, a US occupation (1915-1934) coincided with the development of wireless technology by the US military. Military officials understood the potential of wireless for communication among ships. When US marines landed in Port-au-Prince in 1915, they immediately landed a radio set as well. Although wireless linked the marines to their passing ships, it was not yet a cultural medium sustaining a connection to familiar songs and voices. Haiti was a confusing, disorienting place for many of them: some were disappointed to have been sent there rather than the European front of WWI, others raised in the American South were appalled at the power and status of Haitians of African descent. As remembered by one marine, the sound of Haiti could terrify: “No movies, no radio, none of the features of civilized life to which he was accustomed… Drums boomed continuously. …the drums seemed to him to be the voice of the evil one, always booming in his ears, threatening him, tempting him.”

John Huston Craige, "Black Bagdad" (New York: Minton, Balch and Co, 1933)

John Huston Craige, “Black Bagdad” (New York: Minton, Balch and Co, 1933)

Most confusing of all was the language. 90% of Haitians spoke Kreyol, which is not French, and not like anything the marines had probably heard before. Documents of the occupation record their efforts to turn what they heard as noise into comprehensible signals. They understood how crucial it would be to obtain information from market women, whose perambulations through the countryside, in weekly walks from their villages to market towns, allowed them to gather news and gossip. If they could convince these women to become informants, and then use radio to relay crucial knowledge between strategic points–the terrain was difficult, with paths rather than roads and frequent rain and flash flooding made travel unpredictable—they might somehow begin to locate and crush insurgencies. The installation of radios signaled the Marines’ efforts to exercise control and insert themselves into these circuits of talk and rumor. But results were paltry. Documents from the early phase of the occupation speak to unreliable technology, lack of knowledge about how to use it, its burdensome heft (radio sets had to be hauled by donkeys through the dense forests), and frequent sabotage.

IMG_1531

"Messages relayed to and from Cap Haitien via Ouanaminthe", Entry 173 Chief of the Gendarmerie D' Haiti, General Correspondence 1919-1920, Operations against hostile bandits, RD 127, United States National Archives

“Messages relayed to and from Cap Haitien via Ouanaminthe”, Entry 173 Chief of the Gendarmerie D’ Haiti, General Correspondence 1919-1920, Operations against hostile bandits, RD 127, United States National Archives

They also speak to desperation and macabre inventiveness in the face of fear. Some Marines discovered that they could try getting the ‘truth’ out of Haitians in novel ways. They applied wires from radio sets to Haitian people’s bodies, and shot electric current through them during interrogation sessions, hoping to use their “new media” to simultaneously terrorize bodies and extract information from them. Electrotorture enacted, literally, the relationship between technology, the production of knowledge and imperial violence.

"Rádio que Che transmitia programas revolucionários enquanto estava entocado na montanha" by Flickr user Marco Gomes, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

“Rádio que Che transmitia programas revolucionários enquanto estava entocado na montanha” by Flickr user Marco Gomes, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The histories of radio played out in different registers elsewhere in the Caribbean. While Haiti eventually acquired a broadcasting station in 1926, there was no local radio in Jamaica until 1939.. British colonial officials, distracted by their bloated empire and feeling the economic pinch in any case, had no appetite for building a local station, though Kingston’s residents frequently called for one. While wealthy residents of Jamaica who could afford shortwave receivers had the world at their fingertips—the BBC, US programs, music from Cuba’s powerful stations—the majority of Jamaicans listened instead to their own voices in songs and popular theater, mostly in Jamaican patois.

As the British Empire relegated Jamaica to the margins, capital, people, and many sounds came from the US. Indeed, strapped British officials conscripted amateur radio operators and their US-bought equipment for state purposes. When passing British ships needed to test communications, they asked amateurs to donate their time and expertise. The most prominent of those, the New Yorker John Grinan, achieved some fame in the ham radio world for his experiments with shortwave radio. A participant in the first exchange of transatlantic signals, and one of the operators who helped relay Tom Heeney’s 1928 boxing match against Gene Tunney between New York and New Zealand (via Jamaica), Grinan lent his technological expertise to the British. When striking Jamaican workers cut telephone and telegraph lines amidst labor unrest in the summer of 1938 colonial officials, lacking access to wireless equipment, asked amateur operators like Grinan to police the rebellion, relaying whatever information they could from their rural stations to Kingston.

In the aftermath, colonial officials hoped the new radio station, created with equipment donated by Grinan, would provide a means of calming the unruly masses through educational broadcasting. But the new station’s programming was so dull, and receivers were so expensive and so unreliable, that few listened. It was only in the late 1950s, through the contributions of people like the actress, writer, and radio personality Louise Bennett that the sounds of patois eased radio’s participation into voluble soundscapes long populated by sound systems, music and talk.

As Bennett joked and chided in patois and local musicians like Bob Marley finally got air time, their performances rescued radio from its elitist roots and people finally tuned in.

By that time in Cuba, both the government and its opposition knew that controlling radio meant wielding power, or at least creating the illusion of that power. Cuba’s commercial ties to the US meant that it took part in its neighbor’s vociferous radio culture. Ads, radios, programs and music crisscrossed the Atlantic and shaped transnational listening. By the 1930s, a large radio public tuned in regularly to radionovelas, music and news available throughout the day. So it seemed to make perfect sense when governments claimed airspace to propagate messages and dissenters tampered with communications networks or deployed underground broadcasts—often from outside of Cuba—to convey their discontent. It was this radio world in which students decided that in order to topple a dictator you needed to occupy a radio station.

General Electric Ad. "Before going to sleep, Pepito and Bebita listen to a story transmitted by their grandfather, from New York or Chicago." "Carteles," January 1923.

“Before going to sleep, Pepito and Bebita listen to a story transmitted by their grandfather, from New York or Chicago.” “Carteles,” January 1923.

Understanding Caribbean radio as a regional history—defined more by circuits and soundwaves than national borders—brings new dimensions to bear on radio histories more generally. Spanning the Caribbean allows me to think about how various listening publics came to be and the contingent nature of those publics. Imperial politics, machines—as instruments of curiosity, desire and violence—and voices converged and diverged in distinct ways to conjure particular publics in particular moments. In order to overcome disturbing origins, radio needed to take part in pre-existing publics. In Jamaica, the inclusion of programs in patois resuscitated a feeble medium. The voices of people like Louise Bennett rendered radio a welcome attraction rather than a patronizing nuisance. In Haiti, radio publics also grew as Kreyol radio plays replaced US-sanctioned programming. Francois Duvalier understood that he could use radio to appeal to many people, drawing them in with celebrations of Haiti’s African roots and Kreyol language. When he became dictator soon after, the publics were already captive. On the other hand, Cuba did not have such a stark linguistic divide. So as soon as radio blanketed the country it could take part in fuelling political rifts. Listening in Cuba meant choosing sides, as all sides spoke through the radio. As the oppositional 1950s turned into the revolutionary 60’s, the battle of voices—the Voice of America, the Voice of Martí, the Voice of Fidel, continued. Understanding the region as a transfer point for empire and capital places the Caribbean at the center of many aspects of the history of communications technologies. It also colors that history with troubling tones whose listeners are long overdue.

Alejandra Bronfman is Associate Professor of History at the University of British Columbia, where she teaches courses on Caribbean and Latin American history, historical theory and practice, race in the Americas, and media histories. She is currently working on two projects: A Voice in a Box: Media, Empire and Affiliation in the Caribbean, which records the unwritten histories of sonic technologies in the early twentieth century, and Biography of a Sonic Archive, which draws from the extensive career of Laura Boulton to interrogate the use of recordings in the making of a sonic, exotic Caribbean. http://alejandrabronfman.wordpress.com/

Featured image: “Cuba 1619 – 10th Anniversary of Radio Havana Cuba” by Flickr user Joseph Morris, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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Hello, Americans: Orson Welles, Latin America, and the Sounds of the “Good Neighbor”– Tom McEnaney

Sound at SCMS 2014

"KEXP, Seattle" by Flickr user Curtis Cronn, CC BY-ND-ND 2.0

SCMSlogo-roundWith a wide array of departmental affiliations and disciplinary backgrounds represented among its society membership, as well as an active and creative leadership, the annual meeting of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies is an excellent place to get a sense of where sound studies is and might be heading in the academy. To help read those tea leaves at this year’s upcoming conference in Seattle, we are thrilled to welcome one of the key figures working at the intersection of sound and media today, Denison University Communications Professor Bill Kirkpatrick.

Bill is not only a first-rate scholar — he’s at the forefront of emerging work on sound media and disability — but he’s also a producer, one of the people behind Cinema Journal‘s podcast Aca-Media, which is helping to show how sound can be not only a media studies topic, but a way of doing media studies. As one of the co-chairs of the Radio Studies Scholarly Interest Group at SCMS, Bill has also taken a leadership role in promoting the work of many other scholars, and we’re excited to hear from him on the state of the field. Here are his thoughts and a curated guide for how to make the most of the conference in the Emerald City this year.

- SCMS/ASA Editor Neil Verma

The Society for Cinema and Media Studies is clearly in a boom period for sound studies. In interviews for the March episode of Aca-Media, SCMS programmers Angelo Restivo and Bruce Brasell each noted the extraordinary rise in papers on sound as one of the key trends in the field, and the 2014 schedule bears this out with nearly 150 papers related to sound, music, and radio—an average of thirty each day of the conference, which will take place in Seattle from March 19-23.

Last year, in his 2013 SCMS preview for SO!, Neil Verma sounded a little nervous that this rise in sound-related papers was somehow too good to be true: “This year may mark the point at which sound studies became – likely temporarily, and perhaps distressingly – normal.”  It might be temporary, but the quantity and variety of papers on sound again this year is definitely not distressing. Even more than last year, this year’s conference goes well beyond radio, music, and soundtracks to offer papers on sound in airplanes, in museums, in video games, and on phones, as well as governmental policies connected to sound and more.

Here are some trends and highlights I noticed while going through the schedule:

  1. In my first read-through, I was alarmed by what appeared to be a decline in the number of radio-themed papers and panels.  We know that SCMS is still establishing itself as a good place for radio studies, which the still-nascent Radio Studies Scholarly Interest Group is beginning to help, but it would have been nice to see a few more panels in this area.  After my second reading of the schedule, however, it’s fairer to say that radio is holding steady, especially if we count podcasting. I hope to catch a lot of these papers, and you can’t go wrong with any of the Radio Studies SIG-sponsored panels (marked by * below). In the “something different” category, I’m particularly interested in Matt Sienkiewicz’s paper on “Radio Islam” in Afghanistan and Lana Lin’s “Psychoanalytic Reading of Upton Sinclair’s Mental Radio,” which will look at the intersections between radio and telepathy in the early social imaginary.
  2. Last year Neil urged sound studies to “keep it weird,” and there are definitely some papers this year that fit that bill. One of my favorites is Stephen Groening’s study of how the airplane environment affects issues of immersion and distraction, which is one of those topics I wish I’d thought of first.  I also hope to catch a paper by Dimitrios Pavlounis on how silent films before 1920 used the detective dictograph as a plot device, constructing the idea of sound recording in a silent medium. Sarah Street’s “Synthetic Dreams: Color-Film-Music in the 1920s” will examine some notable sound-image experiments (including Eisenstein’s) during the 1920s. And though I don’t know anything about it but the title, Todd Decker’s presentation on “Helicopter Music” has got to be good, right?
  3. For a town with as storied a musical history as Seattle, the music offerings this year do little to take advantage of place (something that Neil also noted regarding last year’s conference in the even more storied city of Chicago). Nonetheless there are all kinds of cool papers on music and musicals. Given the Beatles nostalgia this year, William Gombash’s paper on the promotional films for “Penny Lane” and “Strawberry Fields Forever” seems apropos; pair it with Jessica Fowler on “The Monkees and the Birth of New Hollywood” and a talk on Elvis Presley’s musicals by Amanda McQueen for a DIY ’60s pop-musical mini-conference.  Or you could go the other direction with a panel on Wagner (H13) and several intriguing papers on opera (look for the papers by Sabine Hake, Ling Zhang, and Jennifer Fleeger).
  4. This is a good year for technologies of sound, from the cinematic apparatus to the architecture of listening spaces.  See, for example, Meredith Ward’s paper on “Architecting Listening in the Cinema House” or Rafael Freire on “The Conversion to Sound in Brazil,” to give just two interesting examples.
  5. The Scholarly Interest Groups for Sound Studies and Radio Studies will each be holding business meetings with special programming.   The Sound Studies SIG will meet over lunch on Friday (3/21, 12:15-2:00 in Ballard).  The Radio Studies SIG will meet the next morning (3/22, 9:00-10:45 in Ballard) and will feature a talk by folks from Seattle indie rock station KEXP about radio in a streaming age.
"Tower Records Seattle Music Mural" by Flickr user Zoomar, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

“Tower Records Seattle Music Mural” by Flickr user Zoomar, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

To help you navigate these and the other offerings, I’ve provided not one but two conference guides. The first is arranged chronologically for all the sound-related panels. The second is arranged topically in four categories (Sound & Soundtracks, Music & Musicals, Radio and Podcasting, and Other: Museums, Airplanes, Phones, Video Games, and Policy).  I’ve also added content notes on just a few papers where I’ve been in contact with the author and learned a bit more about the talk.  I apologize in advance for the inevitable errors and omissions! [please report any flubs to SO! ASA/SCMS Special Editor Neil Verma, nkhv@soundingoutblog.com, we'll make corrections as needed]

In closing, what should we look for—or at least hope for—from SCMS in 2015?  I’ll list my three biggies:

Music:  The quantity of papers this year on opera and classical music in film and media, while still small, suggests that SCMS might finally be emerging as a conference for music scholars beyond pop music, and I hope this trend will continue.  I can’t get into the methodological and theoretical rifts within the discipline of musicology here, but for years Norma Coates, Tim Anderson, and many others have been working to make SCMS a viable alternative to the dominant musicology conferences that, in large and small ways, are hostile to (or simply wrong for) critical-cultural music scholars, especially if their topic has a TV/film component. So let the word go out that they are welcome here!  As a side note, can someone please take better advantage of the amazing history of music in Montreal next year?

Sound:  Nothing to complain about here—sound is alive and well. I would like to see a few more papers on television and sound, and one could argue that the aesthetic and economic analyses of sound could be supplemented with more papers on political and social dimensions of sound.  But overall sound studies seems to be in excellent shape at SCMS.

Radio:  I’m not pessimistic about radio studies at SCMS, but it is also not where I had expected it to be at this point.  We need to encourage more international scholars to participate, and we can hope that the Montreal venue will make it easier and more attractive for European radio scholars—of whom there are many—to apply. Thematically, there remains a troubling “donut hole” in radio scholarship that I hope more scholars will address:  we have lots of work on early radio (into the 1950s), and lots of work on contemporary radio and podcasting, but that leaves a half-century gap that doesn’t receive nearly enough scholarly attention.  In other words, radio studies is far from exhausted, so I hope that radio scholars and the RS SIG can make 2015 a year of growth and diversification for radio at SCMS.

* = Sponsored by the Radio Studies Scholarly Interest Group

** = Sponsored by the Sound Studies Scholarly Interest Group

Featured Image: “KEXP, Seattle” by Flickr user Curtis Cronn, CC BY-ND-ND 2.0

Bill Kirkpatrick is Assistant Professor of Media Studies in the Communication Department at Denison University in Ohio. His research interests include broadcast history, media and disability, and media policy. He is currently working on an anthology on media and disability and a monograph on the intersections of radio and disability in the 1920s and ‘30s. He is also a co-producer of the film and media studies podcast Aca-Media (www.aca-media.org).

"Bumbershoot procession, 1974" by Flickr user Seattle Municipal Archives, CC BY 2.0

“Bumbershoot procession, 1974″ by Flickr user Seattle Municipal Archives, CC BY 2.0


I. Chronological Index
Jump to WEDNESDAY, MARCH 19, 2014
Jump to THURSDAY, MARCH 20, 2014
Jump to FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014
Jump to SATURDAY, MARCH 22, 2014
Jump to SUNDAY, MARCH 23, 2014

II. Topic Index
Jump to SOUND & SOUNDTRACKS
Jump to MUSIC & MUSICALS
Jump to RADIO/PODCASTING
Jump to OTHER

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I. CHRONOLOGICAL LIST

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 19

Session A 10:00 – 11:45 a.m.

A4: French Auteurs: Becker, Demy, Bresson, Bunuel

Tracy Cox-Stanton, SAVANNA COLLEGE OF ART AND DESIGN, “Film Sound, Footsteps, and Unvoiced Desire in Bresson’s “Pickpocket” (1959) and Bunuel’s “Belle du Jour” (1967)”

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A10: Knowing the Score

Kevin Donnelly, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHAMPTON, “Phantom Power: Electrifying an Old Silent Film”

Ariane Lebot, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY, “Composing the Narrative: Bernard Herrmann’s Contribution to De Palma’s ‘Obsession’ (1976)”

Megan Alvarado Saggese, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA BERKELEY, “From Sound to Cinema: Dissonance and Disruption between Adorno’s Theory of Film and Kagel’s “Antithese””

Christine Sprengler, UNIVERSITY OF WESTERN ONTARIO, “‘The Broom That Sweeps the Cobwebs Away’: Vertigo’s Soundtrack as Sound Art”

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A16: Re-viewing Feminisms

Elizabeth Watkins, UNIVERSITY OF LEEDS, “Gesture and the Female Voice”

Alexander Russo, CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY OF AMERICA, “Androids as the New ‘Other’: Janelle Monae’s Feminist Afrofuturism in The Metropolis Suite” (focuses on the sonic attributes of race and gender, as well as her engagement with the sounds of masculine black music of the second half of the 20th century)

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Session B 12:00 – 1:45 p.m.

B6: Policy: The Law and other Gatekeepers

Birk Weiberg, ZURICH UNIVERSITY OF THE ARTS, “Roy J. Pomeroy, Dunning Process Co., Inc., and Paramount Publix Corporation vs. Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc., Vitaphone Corporation, and Frederick Jackman: How the Movie Industry Learned about Patents.”

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B15: Promotional Culture

William Gombash, VALENCIA COLLEGE, “The Evolution of Media Convergence and Popular Music: The Promotional Films for “Penny Lane” and “Strawberry Fields Forever”” (will include discussion of how the Beatles recorded the songs and how the evolving nature of the complexities of the production of their music mitigated against live performances)

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B19: Avant-garde Aesthetic Strategies

Dustin Zemel, LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY, “Polyphony and Documentary Presentness”  (explores the idea of Bakhtinian literary polyphony and it’s relationship/relevance to film, using Jonas Mekas’s The Brig as an example of how overlapping voices in the soundtrack can effectively facilitate the presentation of multiple, autonomous presences.)

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Session C 2:00 – 3:45 p.m.

C6: Narrative Forms of/and American Authorship

Paul Cote, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND, “Encountering Sonic Memories: Sound, Childhood, and Escapism in Steven Spielberg’s “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.””

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C8: The Spaces of Media Production and Consumption

Meredith Ward, NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY, “Black Boxes and Rich, Repressed Sounds: Architecting Listening in the Cinema House”

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C10: Listening to Films: Cinematic Sound and Media Culture in East Asia

Nicole Huang, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN, MADISON, “Listening to Films: Radio and Communal Film Culture in 1970s China”

Kerim Yasar, UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME, “Otozukuri: Affect, Ontology, and Techne in Early Japanese Radio Drama and Talkie Sound Effects”

Giorgio Biancorosso, UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG, “Double Agents and The Poor Man’s Orchestra: Music and the Aesthetic of the Self in *Chunking Express* (1994)”

Ling Zhang, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO, “The Flowing Ambiguity of Soundscape: Female Voice-over in Spring in a Small Town and Fei Mu’s Chinese Operatic Sound Aesthetic”

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Session D 4:00 – 5:45 p.m. 

D4: The Globalization of Post-Millenial Persian Media

Matt Sienkiewicz, BOSTON COLLEGE, “Uncle Sam’s Koran: American Broadcasting, Koranic Values and Hybrid “Radio Islam” in Afghanistan”

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D6: Objects: The Medium Is the Material

Paul Jasen, CARLETON UNIVERSITY, “Infrasound: Spectres of the Manmade Unknown”

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D10: Physician, Heal Thy Selfie

Stephanie Brown, UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS, URBANA-CHAMPAIGN, “‘A Waiting Room That Doesn’t Suck’: Negotiations of Agency, Authenticity, and Community in the “Mental Illness Happy Hour Podcast””

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D13: New Histories of Animation

Lora Mjolsness, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, IRVINE, “Sound, Synchronization, and Subversion: The Early Animation of the Brumberg Sisters”

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D15: Distribution in the Digital Age

Tim Anderson, OLD DOMINION UNIVERSITY, “Why Don’t We Give it Away?: Value and “Free” for an Emerging Music Industry”

Jeremy Morris, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN, MADISON, “‘App’etite for Digitization: App-based Albums and the Virtual Commodification of Music”

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"Sub Pop 20th Anniversary!" by Flickr user Rakka, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

“Sub Pop 20th Anniversary!” by Flickr user Rakka, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0


THURSDAY, MARCH 20

Session E 9:00 – 10:45 a.m. 

E1: Gender and Contemporary Technologies

Jacqueline Vickery, UNIVERSITY OF NORTH TEXAS, “Mobile Phones, a Girl’s Best Friend?: How the Mobile Phone Industry Legitimizes Surveillance, Commodifies Talk, and Genders Technology”

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*E10: Sound: Aesthetics and Ideology

Justin Morris, UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO, “Radio Ranch: Emergent Seriality in 1930s Film and Radio”

Paula Musegades, BRANDEIS UNIVERSITY, “Silence is Golden: Aaron Copland’s Film Score for “The Heiress””

Yuki Takinami, UNIVERSITY OF TOKYO, “The Issue of Sound-Cinema Aesthetics in Early-1930s Japan: Theory and Practice”

Alejandra Bronfman, UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA, “Screeches, Static, and Silence: The Fragmented Terrain of Caribbean Radio”

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E13: Deleuzian Aesthetics

Justin Horton, GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY, “Vibration, Resonance, Deformation: Deleuze’s Soundful Aesthetics”

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E19: New/Media/Art/Objects

Alison Wielgus, UNIVERSITY OF IOWA, “Watch Out! The World’s Behind You: Warhol’s Exploding Plastic Inevitable and the Promises of Expanded Cinema” (discusses the influence of La Monte Young and drone music on the Exploding Plastic Inevitable, and how the live performance of such music creates a new context for interpreting the Warhol films screened during the events; unfortunately Alison will not be able to attend the conference, but you can contact her for more information)

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Session F 11:00 – 12:45 p.m.

F1: Reconsidering Psychoanalysis and Media Studies: Towards a Productive Intersection

Lana Lin, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY,  “Are These Thoughts My Own?: A Psychoanalytic Reading of Upton Sinclair’s “Mental Radio””

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F5:  Margins of the New Wave: Japanese Cinemas of the 1960s

Michael Raine, UNIVERSITY OF WESTERN ONTARIO, “Music, Musicals, and the Margins of the Japanese New Wave”

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F16: Feminist Approaches to War Media

Debra White-Stanley, KEENE STATE COLLEGE, “Combat Medicine, Gendered Trauma, and Audio-Vision” (an interdisciplinary integration of sound studies with the idea of “women at war”)

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F17: Negotiating Race in Digital Spaces

Sarah Florini, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN, MADISON, “Networked Enclaves: Black Podcasters’ Responses to the George Zimmerman Verdict”

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**F18: Documentary Sound and the Global City

Rita Safariants, VASSAR COLLEGE, “The Gig is in the Boiler Room: Filming Leningrad’s Rock-n-Roll Counterculture”

Josh Glick, YALE UNIVERSITY, “The Renegade in the Network: Joe Saltzman, CBS, and Soundtrack Innovations”

Ashish Chadha, UNIVERSITY OF RHODE ISLAND, “Sound in the City: Experimental Documentaries of Films Division in India”

Noelle Griffis, INDIANA UNIVERSITY, “Telling it Like it Is: The Camera as Voice in AFI Supported Minority Youth Films of the 1960s”

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Session G 1:00 – 2:45 p.m.

**G18: Between Speech, Music, and Noise: The Voice in Recent Film and Television

John Richardson, UNIVERSITY OF TURKU, “Between Dialogue and Sound: The Voice, Audiovisual Flow, and the Aestheticizing Impulse”

Robynn Stilwell, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY, “Walking and Talking and Singing and Dancing: Axes and Boundaries in the Television Soundscape”

Claudia Gorbman, UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON, TACOMA, “The Master’s Voice”

Mitchell Morris, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, LOS ANGELES, “Fictions of the Facture: Vocal Realities in “Velvet Goldmine”

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Session H 3:00 – 4:45 p.m.

H3: Negotiating Identity, Belonging, and Citizenship in Transnational Latino Communities in the US

Veronica Zavala, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SANTA BARBARA, “Alivianadas: Spanish-Language Radio Incentives”

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H4: French Film Archives: New Findings, New Forms

Charlie Michael, EMORY UNIVERSITY, “The Lescure Report and the Future of French Audiovisual Policy” (an analysis of the participatory blog that the French Ministry of Culture launched to have a public discussion about audiovisual reform)

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*H9: Regionalism, Accent, and Dialect at the BBC, 1930-1955

Debra Rae Cohen, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA, ““There’s No Such Thing as Reet”: Reclaiming Region in Burbleton””

Ian Whittington, UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI, “Regional Voice, National Crisis: J.B. Priestley as Second World War Radio Celebrity”

Emily Bloom, GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY, “Speaking Oirish: The BBC Third Programme and Irish Drama”

Damien Keane, UNIVERSITY AT BUFFALO, “A Back-Window on Belfast: W.R. Rodgers’ The Return Room”

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H13: Cinema & Wagner

Amy Stebbins, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO, “Being Richard: History, Myth, and the Biopic”

Rebekah Rutkoff, CUNY, “Towards a Complete Order: Markopoulos and Wagner”

Ken Eisenstein, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO / BUCKNELL UNIVERSITY, “‘All Things Pass Into the Night’: Music, Montage, and Wagner in Billy Wilder’s “Love in the Afternoon” (1957)”

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*H15: Branded Entertainment of the Past

Kathryn Fuller-Seeley, GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY, ““The Dean of Radio Salesmen” vs. “The Huckster”: Jack Benny’s Struggle with Sponsor Lucky Strike, 1944-1948″

Cynthia Meyers, COLLEGE OF MOUNT SAINT VINCENT, “The Problems of Branded Entertainment: BBDO, Sponsors, and Blacklists on Radio and Early Television”

Lauren Bratslavsky, UNIVERSITY OF OREGON, “Soft Hands and Soft Westerns: The True Stories of Death Valley Days, 1930-72″

Andrew deWaard, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, LOS ANGELES, “Marty Weiser, Exploitation Agent: Product Placement, Publicity, and the Tie-Up Business in Hollywood, 1940-1980″

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H19: Intermedial Modernisms: Cinema’s Expanded Horizons in the 1920s

Sarah Street, UNIVERSITY OF BRISTOL, “Synthetic Dreams: Color-Film-Music in the 1920s”

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H25: Once More with Feeling: Audiences, Origins, and Affect in the Hollywood Musical

Desiree Garcia, ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY, “Life Upon the Wicked Stage: The Origins of the Hollywood Show Musical”

Sean Griffin, SOUTHERN METHODIST UNIVERSITY, “Don’t Fence Me In: B Studio Musicals’ Appeal to Marginalized Audiences”

Caryl Flinn, UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN, “The Kitschy Feelings of Kitschy Musicals”

Kelly Kessler, DEPAUL UNIVERSITY, “I Dreamed a Dream of Close-Ups Gone By: “Les Misérables” and the Visual Excess of Stage-to-Screen Transfers in the FX Era”

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Session I 5:00 – 6:45 p.m.

I4: Museum as Medium: Technology, Spectatorship, Space

Karine Bouchard, UNIVERSITY DE MONTREAL, “(Im)mobilized Sound: Towards Listening Experiences in the Museum Exhibition.”

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**I10: Sounds of Labor: Musicians’ Employment in Hollywood’s Transition to Sound

Jennifer Fleeger, URSINUS COLLEGE, “Putting Opera to Work: Song, Stardom, and Labor in the Vitaphone Opera Shorts”

Rob King, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY, ““I Want Music Everywhere”: Underscoring in the Hal Roach Studios’ Early Sound Films”

Daniel Goldmark, CASE WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY, “The Musical Roots of “The Jazz Singer””

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I11: Rethinking Wong Kar-wei: New Approaches to an Established International Auteur

Angelo Restivo, GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY, “Wong Kar-wai: Sound + Image”

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I19: Makes Me Feel Some Kinda Way: Television and Black Women’s Affect

Racquel Gates, COLLEGE OF STATEN ISLAND, CUNY, “The Ratchet Public Sphere: Love and Hip Hop Atlanta and Black Women’s Culture”

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"Musicians and dancers at Pike Place Market, circa 1972" by Flickr user Seattle Municipal Archives, CC BY 2.0

“Musicians and dancers at Pike Place Market, circa 1972″ by Flickr user Seattle Municipal Archives, CC BY 2.0


FRIDAY, MARCH 21

Session J 9:00 -10:45 a.m.

J1: What Is “The Symbolist Temptation?” The Aesthetics of Symbolism in Transnational Cinema

Tami Williams, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-MILWAUKEE, “A Music of Silence: Abstraction and Sensation in Belle Époque Symbolist Theater and 1920s French Art Cinema”

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J3: Brazilian Cinema Revisited: Technologies, Exhibition, Reception

Rafael Freire, UNIVERSIDADE FEDERAL FLUMINENSE, “The Conversion to Sound in Brazil”

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*J10: Radio and Other Sounds

Hannah Spaulding, NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY, “Eavesdropping as Entertainment: The Enormous Radio and Shut Up Little Man!”

Jack Curtis Dubowsky, ACADEMY OF ART UNIVERSITY,  “The Music of Brokeback Mountain”

Ming-Yuen Ma, PITZER COLLEGE, “Noises of Protest: Sound, Race, and Violence in Christian Marclay’s Guitar Drag and Paul D. Miller’s Rebirth of a Nation”

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J19: Race, Gender, and the Body in Found Footage Film

Jaimie Baron, UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA, “Unintentional Singers and Racial Ventriloquism in Contemporary Found Footage Videos” (Explores how found footage (remix) videomakers are literally making their (speaking) subjects sing and how this constitutes a form of ventriloquism)

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Session K 12:15-2:00 p.m.

*Meeting of the Sound Studies Scholarly Interest Group

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K9: Medium and Method in “Early Television” History

Kate Newbold, NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY, “Television Ontology and Media Methodology: Exploring Televisual Fragmentation in Phonograph, Broadcast, and Print Industries, 1926-1940″

Luke Stadel, NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY, “Radio/Television/Sound, 1922-1941″

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K18: Revisiting Kurosawa

Michael Bourdaghs, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO, “Hearing the Cold War: Kurosawa Akira’s Soundtracks and Soviet Film Theory”

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Session L 2:15-4:00 p.m.

**L10: Sound Waves: Technology and Practice in Film Sound

Charles O’Brien, CARLETON UNIVERSITY, “Multi-Track Sound and the Battle of Paris: American and German Films for French Distribution”

Eric Dienstfrey, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN, MADISON, “Splits, Quad, and the Psychedelic: Dolby’s Rear Channels Examined”

Katherine Quanz, WILFRID LAURIER UNIVERSITY, “The Industrial Impact of Toronto’s Transition to Digidesign Technology in the Mid-2000s”

Benjamin Wright, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, “Atmos Now: How Dolby is Transforming the Art and Craft of Sound Mixing”

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"Sound Garden" by Flickr user The Kozy Shack, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

“Sound Garden” by Flickr user The Kozy Shack, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0


SATURDAY, MARCH 22

Session M 9:00-10:45 a.m.

*Meeting of the Radio Studies Scholarly Interest Group (featuring guests from KEXP to talk about radio in a streaming age)

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M4: What is Socialist Realism? Reexamining Soviet Post-montage Cinema

Vincent Bohlinger, RHODE ISLAND COLLEGE, “Soundtrack Design in Soviet Early Sound Film”

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M7:  Playing with Avatars

Lyn Goeringer, OBERLIN CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC, “No Avatar Required: Audio-reactive Games and Physical Connectivity”

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**M10: Global Approaches to Film Sound

Pavitra Sundar, KETTERING UNIVERSITY, “Thinking Sound, Rethinking History in Hindi Cinema”

James Lastra, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO, “From Mickey Mouse to Peter Kubelka”

Esra-Gokce Sahin, HARVARD UNIVERSITY, “Soundscape and Humor in Acharaka Comedy in Prewar Japan”

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M16:  Hispanic Musicals: Nationalisms and Transnational Stars

Valeria Camporesi, AUTONOMOUS UNIVERSITY OF MADRID,, “Latin Stars, Spanish Women: Lola Flores in the 1950s”

Ana Lopez, TULANE UNIVERSITY, “La Vecindad: A Musical Space for the Mexican Cinema”

Dolores Tierney, SUSSEX UNIVERSITY, and Sergio de la Mora, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, DAVIS, “Re-mapping Mexican Cinema of the 1970s: Music and Female Sexuality in Zona Roja”

Enrique Garcia, MIDDLEBURY COLLEGE, “From Brechtian to Hollywood Approach: The Hispanic Community and Salsa Music in the Documentary Our Latin Thing (Nuestra Cosa) and the Biopic/Musical El Cantante”

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M17: Forms of Non-Fiction: Voices, Realisms, Disciplines, Shadows

James V. Catano, LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY, “Voiceover and the Essay Film”

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Session N 11:00-12:45 p.m.

N2: The Precarious Aesthetic in Contemporary Moving Images

Arild Fetveit, UNIVERSITY OF COPENHAGEN, “Death, Love, and Cinematic Nostalgia: The Precarious Aesthetic of Lana Del Ray” (linking the aesthetics of her videos to her music, in particular to the ways in which she uses her voice)

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*N6: Locating Radio: The Symbolic, Cultural, and Political Dimensions of ‘Place’ in North American Radio Broadcasting

Brian Fauteux, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN, MADISON, “Localities and Independent Music in Satellite Radio Programming”

Catherine Martin, BOSTON UNIVERSITY, “‘I’ve Got My Eyes Open and I Can’t be Crooked’: Female Virtue and National Identity in “Terry and the Pirates””

Eleanor Patterson, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN, MADISON, “This American Franchise: Negotiating the Production of Local Public Radio for a Global Audience”

Jennifer Wang, INDEPENDENT SCHOLAR, “Some ‘Homemakers’ are More Than Housekeepers: Negotiating Modern Living, Gendered Spheres, and the Rural Lifestyle in Wisconsin Radio”

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N11: The Little Flashlight of the Usher: Objects in Exhibition Between Spectator and Screen

Stephen Groening, GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY, “‘If You Don’t Want to Look at It, No One Can Force You’: Spectatorship, Agency, and Headphones”

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**N16: Teaching Post-Production Sound From a Sound Studies Perspective

Mark Berger, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY

Jay Beck, CARLETON COLLEGE

George Larkin, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY

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Session O 1:00-2:45 p.m.

O4: Expanding the Meanings of Film: Cinema and the Nation in East Germany

Sabine Hake, UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS, AUSTIN, “The Popularity of High Culture: On the DEFA Opera Film”

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O8: Sinophone Cinemas

Alison Groppe, UNIVERSITY OF OREGON, “Multilingualism in Singaporean Film Dialogue: Authenticity or Argument?”

O14: Breath and the Body of the Voice in Cinema

Ian Garwood, UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW, “Lost in Non-Translation: Analysing Film Voices from a Position of Linguistic Incompetence”

Liz Greene, QUEEN’S UNIVERSITY BELFAST, “The Gasping Breath: Controlling the Female Voice in Hollywood Cinema”

Nessa Johnston, GLASGOW SCHOOL OF ART, “The Embodied Aural Encounters of Drama-Documentary”

Philippa Lovatt, UNIVERSITY OF STIRLING, “Breathing Bodies: Sound and Subjectivity in the War Film”

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Session P 3:00-4:45 p.m.

P7: “Women Contained”: Figuring Feminism in the Films of Todd Haynes

Respondent: Maria San Filippo, INDIANA UNIVERSITY, BLOOMINGTON

Matthew Von Vogt, INDIANA UNIVERSITY, BLOOMINGTON, “Structural Anorexia in “Superstar””

Jess Issacharoff, UNIVERSITY OF IOWA, ““Poison’s” Oath in Another Language: Todd Haynes’ Feminist Promise”

Michael Hetra, UNIVERSITY OF IOWA, “Music and the Vicissitudes of Desire in Todd Haynes’s “Mildred Pierce””

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P18: Beyond Bond: Alternative Perspectives on the James Bond Franchise

Meenasarani Murugan, NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY,  “‘Unlike Men, the Diamonds Linger’: Bassey and Bond beyond the Theme Song”

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*P22: Musics and Medias

Shawn VanCour, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY, “In Search of Spectacular Sound: Aesthetic Innovation in Classical Music Programming on Early U.S. Television”

Lindsay Affleck, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, LOS ANGELES, “The Young Man with a Horn: Harry James and the Intersection of the Big Band Era and Classical Hollywood”

Christopher Cwynar, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN, MADISON, “Unbuttoning National Public Radio: Assessing the Place of Popular Music in NPR’s Current Affairs Programming”

Norma Coates, UNIVERSITY OF WESTERN ONTARIO, “5% of It is Good:” Leonard Bernstein, CBS Reports, and the Cultural Accreditation of Rock Music”

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Session Q 5:00-6:45 p.m.

Q4: Staging Spain: Performance and Acting in Spanish Cinema

Tom Whittaker, UNIVERSITY OF LIVERPOOL, ““Sounding Authentic: Direct Sound and Spanish Vocal Performance in the 1970s””

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Q5: Indian Cinema in the 1930s: Scripts, Parsi Theater, and Melodrama in the Early Sound Film

Anupama Kapse, CUNY, QUEENS COLLEGE, “At Home in One’s Voice: Melodrama and Aural Performance in the Early Sound Film”

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Q8: New Media History

Andrew Bottomley, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN, MADISON, “What is Internet Radio? A Historical Genealogy of the Discourses of Radio in the Digital Era”

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Q15: Roadshows to Revisionism: Mapping Shifts in Distribution and Exhibition from the 1950s to the Present

Dennis Bingham, INDIANA UNIVERSITY – PURDUE UNIVERSITY INDIANAPOLIS, “‘Hey, Big Spender’: How Bob Fosse Ran Afoul of Roadshows and Discovered the Revisionist Musical”

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Q18: Sound, Vision, and Experience in Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel’s “Leviathan (2012)”

Respondent: Catherine Russell, CONCORDIA UNIVERSITY

Christopher Pavsek, SIMON FRASER UNIVERSITY, “Where’s the Sense in Sensory Ethnography?”

Ohad Landesman, TEL AVIV UNIVERSITY, “Faraway, So Close: “Leviathan” and the Digital Future of Observational Ethnography”

Eirik Frisvold Hanssen, NORWEGIAN UNIVERSITY OF SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY, “‘His Eyes Are Like the Rays of Dawn’: Color Vision and Embodiment in “Leviathan””

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Q22: Cinematic Spaces in the Urban Global South

Paulina Suarez-Hesketh, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY, “Dancing Pictures, Mobile Publics (Mexico City, 1930s -1950s)”

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"KEXP Concerts at the Mural" by Flickr user Chelsea Nesvig, CC BY 2.0

“KEXP Concerts at the Mural” by Flickr user Chelsea Nesvig, CC BY 2.0

SUNDAY, MARCH 23

Session R 9:00-10:45 a.m.

R2: War/Film

Todd Decker, WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY ST. LOUIS, “Helicopter Music”

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R7: Labor Practice and Labors Lost

Josh Heuman, TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY, “All of This Sometimes Tends to Look Like a Closed-Shop Operation: Organizing and Professionalizing Labor Markets and Relations in Early Broadcast Writing”

Michael Slowik, SAN DIEGO STATE UNIVERSITY, “Losing the Human Element: The Shift from Live to Recorded Music in Hollywood’s Early Sound Era”

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**R10: Sound Effects and Sound Affects

Karly-Lynne Scott, NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY, “‘The Voice of Shouts and Moans’: Haptic Aurality, Resonance, and Affect in Pornography”

Ian Kennedy, WAYNE STATE UNIVERSITY, “Damion Romero’s I Know! I Know! and the Sonic Translation of Nonhuman Affect”

Dong Liang, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO, “Is There a Sound Effect in this Score?: SFX in Transition”

Kelly Kirshtner, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN, MILWAUKEE, “Bodies of Proof: Sound and the Aesthetics of Discovery in Televisual Space”

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R20: Beyond Sight and Sound: Film and the Multisensory Experience

Respondent: Carl Plantinga, CALVIN COLLEGE

Joseph Kickasola, BAYLOR UNIVERSITY, “The Senses Know: Wong Kar‐Wai’s Multisensory Aesthetic”

William Brown, ROEHAMPTON UNIVERSITY, “A Touch of Nostalgia, or Time and Cinematic Synaesthesia”

Luis Antunes, UNIVERSITY OF KENT & NORWEGIAN UNIVERSITY OF SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY, “Multimodal Segmentation in Terrence Malick’s “The Thin Red Line”: Insight into the Time Window of Multisensory Integration”

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R24: About Time

Jeff Heinzl, UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH, “MTV Meets Slow Cinema: Feedback Loops and the Long Take in G.O.O.D. Music’s Mercy (2012)”

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Session S 11:00-12:45 p.m.

S3: Nontheatrical Film Communities

Pamela Krayenbuhl, NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY, “Raising the Barre in Screendance Scholarship: An Archival Analysis of the Dance Company Film”

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S8: New Hollywood and the Archive

Jessica Fowler, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, LOS ANGELES, “We’re the Young Generation and We’ve Got Something to Say: The Monkees and the Birth of New Hollywood”

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S9: A Global Pre-History of Reality TV

Aniko Imre, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, “Socialist Idols: Reality Music Competition Programs in the Soviet Bloc”

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**S10: Audible Cinema: Explorations in Sound

Kartik Nair, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY, “‘The Body in the Voice’: Labor, Sound, and the Cinematic Scream”

Chunfeng Lin, UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS, URBANA-CHAMPAGNE, “The Sound Identity of the Early Chinese Sound Films: Symbolism as Skin, Realism as Body, and Politics as Soul”

James Osborne, UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA, “Weaving a Sonic Dream: Voice, Sound, Music, and Meaning in Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Magnolia””

Neil Lerner, DAVIDSON COLLEGE, “Investigating the Origins of Video Game Music Style, 1977-1983: The Early Cinema Hypothesis”

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S11: Historicising Stars

Kyle Barnett, BELLARMINE UNIVERSITY, “Stars on the Stereo: Variations on Phonographic Celebrity”

Amanda McQueen, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN, MADISON, “”All They’re Good for Is to Make Money”: The Industrial Significance of Elvis Presley Musicals in 1960s Hollywood”

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S14: Agency in Media Pedagogy: Critical Approaches to Empowerment

This is a workshop in which Elisabeth Soep of Youth Radio will be participating

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S15: Playing with the Interface

Lauren Cramer, GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY, “Race at the Interface: Rendering Blackness on WorldStarHipHop.com”

Kiri Miller, BROWN UNIVERSITY, “Gaming Gender in “Dance Central””

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S16: Questions of Realism

Antonio Iannotta, UNIVERSITY OF SALERNO, “A Sound Laboratory for the Modern: Sound in Italian Cinema from Neorealism to the 60s”

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Session T 1:00-2:45 p.m.

T5: Translation-Adaptation-Nation

Gerald Sim, FLORIDA ATLANTIC UNIVERSITY, “Cacophonies of Affection: Postcolonial Soundscapes”

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T7: Histories of Technologies

Dimitrios Pavlounis, UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN, “Audio Surveillance Goes to the Movies : William J. Burns, the Detective Dictograph, and the Idea of Sound Recording, 1910-1920″

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T17: Revisoning Black Time and Space through the Afrofuturist Moving Image

Kevin Ball, WAYNE STATE UNIVERSITY, “The Incendiary Intergalactic: Sun Ra in Space Is the Place”

"Bumbershoot ad, 1974" by Flickr user Seattle Municipal Archives, CC BY 2.0

“Bumbershoot ad, 1974″ by Flickr user Seattle Municipal Archives, CC BY 2.0

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From Mercury to Mars: Jennifer Hyland Wang’s “After the Martians” from Antenna

WOTW75_NV_Postcard_WEB (1)“What I find so intriguing about the heated public discussion immediately following the War of the Worlds broadcast – in letters to the FCC and to Orson Welles, in newspaper pages, and in industry trade journals – is not just the way the controversy comments about the power of radio or the susceptibility of the audience, but the way in which the gendered logics embedded in the broadcast system rose to the surface in these debates and informed the popular, industrial, and regulatory discussions about the mass “hysteria” of October 30, 1938 …”

[Reblogged from Antenna]

With Jennifer Hyland Wang‘s terrific exploration of the gendered logics surrounding the reception of the “War of the Worlds” broadcast and its implications for communications regulations, our six month series on the radio work of Orson Welles — From Mercury to Mars — comes to a close.

Hollywood

I have many supporters to thank for helping to bring this project together, but none so much as the Sounding Out! team – Jennifer Stoever-Ackerman, Liana Silva-Ford and Aaron Trammell, as well as our co-conspirators Nick Rubenstein and Monteith McCollum who contributed so much to the #WOTW75 project. Also a big thanks to Andrew Bottomley, my counterpart at Antenna and recruited all the authors from that end.

welles11Chiefly, however, I want to thank all our writers for such smart and entertaining work. I think it’s fair to say that the Mercury to Mars project brought more insight into Welles’ radio years than virtually any other body of collected writing. In August, Cornell professor Tom McEnaney started out the series with a detailed study (here) of the role that Latin America played in Welles’ radio imagination and early film projects. Eleanor Patterson of the University of Wisconsin Madison followed up with her take on WOTW as a kind of residual radio (here). In the early Autumn, Professor Debra Rae Cohen of the University of South Carolina took on Welles’ first play in the Mercury cycle – his version of “Dracula” – explaining how it commented on the medium (here). On Antenna, Cynthia B. Meyers from the College of Mount Saint Vincent provided keen insight (here) on her experiences teaching WOTW in the classroom. Soon afterward, Kathleen Battles of Oakland University brought us her fascinating take (here) on Orson Welles’ self-parodies on the Fred Allen show and elsewhere, and in the lead-up to our #WOTW75 event, NYU’s Shawn VanCour made a compelling case (here) for why the second act of WOTW was so much more remarkable than the first.

971153_10151467911611783_635005065_nOn the 75th anniversary of the “War of the Worlds” broadcast last October, we organized (or at least inspired) listening parties and collected hundreds of real-time tweets from participants in seven states and three countries all listening at the same time and using our hashtag #WOTW75. The exercise was coordinated with a three-hour SO!-produced broadcast from WHRW at SUNY Binghamton, with comments on the show by a dozen prominent scholars and writers, including Kate Lacey of Sussex University, Alex Russo of Catholic University, Brian Hanrahan of Cornell, John Cheng of SUNY Binghamton, Damian Keane of SUNY Buffalo, Jason Loviglio of the University of Maryland, Paul Heyer of Wilfrid Laurier University and more. We couldn’t be more proud of the depth of the material and the breadth of the event, which stretched from the University of Mississippi to Northwestern University, from Bournemouth University in the U.K. to the Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto. Here is the navigator page we put up the night of the event, here is Aaron Trammell‘s remarkable audio documentary that aired early that night and here is Monteith McCollum‘s amazing WOTW “remix” that aired later.

Buffet

After the anniversary, our series continued to grow. Josh Shepperd of Catholic University reflected on what WOTW meant for the development of media studies (here) based on new archival research, and Jacob Smith of Northwestern wrote a terrific article (here) about “Hell on Ice,” Welles’ great drama of sailors lost in frozen wastes. We also commissioned new writing (here) on Welles’ adaptations of Sherlock Holmes by A. Brad Schwartz, who co-wrote a PBS program on the WOTW scandal. We also heard from two of the most prominent media studies scholars out there: Michele Hilmes of Madison wrote about the persistence and evolution of radio drama overseas after Welles (here), while Murray Pomerance of Ryerson University wrote a rich and provocative study (here) of Welles’ voice itself.

Thanks to one and all. For my part, it’s simply been a joy to share my boundless fascination with Orson Welles’s radio work with so many friends, fans and colleagues. Signing out now, on behalf of Mercury to Mars, I remain your obedient servant, Neil Verma.

Welles Alpha

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