Tag Archive | Chicago

SO! Amplifies: Mendi+Keith Obadike and Sounding Race in America

Document3SO! Amplifies. . .a highly-curated, rolling mini-post series by which we editors hip you to cultural makers and organizations doing work we really really dig.  You’re welcome!

Several years ago—after working on media art, myths, songs about invisible networks and imaginary places—we started a series of sound art projects about America. In making these public sound artworks about our country we ask ourselves questions about funk, austerity, debt and responsibility, aesthetics, and inheritance. We also attempt to reckon with data, that which orders so much of our lives with its presence or absence.

We are interested in how data might be understood differently once sonified or made musical. We want to explore what kinds of codes are embedded in the architecture of American culture.

Big House/Disclosure


The first sound art project in this vein that we completed in 2007 was entitled Big House / Disclosure. Northwestern University commissioned Big House / Disclosure to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the British slave trade. We began researching Chicago’s recently (2002) issued Slavery Era Disclosure Ordinance, which states that any business seeking a city contract must publicly disclose (without penalty) its historical relationship, if any, to the slave trade. In that project we interviewed 200 citizens in the Chicago area about that city ordinance, how they (or their ancestors) arrived in this country, the origins of house music, and imaginary plantations, as well as their opinions about the legacy of slavery in their lives. Their answers were woven into a 200 hour house song & public sound installation on the Northwestern campus.

We used custom built software to trigger changes in the sound (drums, bass lines, chords, etc.) of that installation as the stock prices of companies like Lehman Brothers and Wachovia Bank (listed by this city ordinance as having profited from slave trade) rose and fell in 2007. In addition to the sound installation there were a number of performance scores and graphic scores to be performed in the project. The graphic scores were performed at the Stone (John Zorn’s music venue) by bassist Melvin Gibbs, turntablist Val Inc, percussionist Satoshi Takeshi, and pianist Shoko Nagai in New York. The book and album for this project (recorded with percussionist Guillermo Brown, cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum, cellist Okkyung Lee and percussionist Tim Feeney) were released by 1913 Press.

American Cypher


In 2012-13 we created American Cypher. This project looked at American stories about race and DNA. The stories included narratives about Barack Obama, geneticist James Watson, Oprah Winfrey, and two men in the criminal justice system. At the center of the project was a multi-channel sound installation made from a small 18th century bell that belonged to Sally Hemings (a woman enslaved by Thomas Jefferson and, as indicated by DNA testing, mother to his children). The bell was recorded and altered. It was tuned using DNA information (microsatellite STR analysis) from the Jefferson and Hemings families. That analysis gave us a pitch set that was used to compose the piece. The project was commissioned by Bucknell University’s Samek Gallery and Griot Institute. The exhibition was mounted at the Studio Museum in Harlem and later traveled to the Institute of Visual Art at the University of Milwaukee Wisconsin.

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/81574324″>Mendi + Keith Obadike: American Cypher – Samek Gallery and The Studio Museum in Harlem</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user12307441″>Keith Obadike</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>



Free/Phase is our latest project for 2014-15. This work uses the archives of Columbia College’s Center for Black Music Research (Chicago, Illinois) as its foundation. With this work we are doing conceptual remixes of African-American freedom songs found in the archives. We are thinking about how this music has been used over the past couple of centuries and all that is encoded in these songs musically, politically, and spiritually. There are three nodes to this project. These nodes will be presented and produced in several venues throughout the city of Chicago and will include audience participation.

1) Beacon

“Beacon” is made up of a distributed site-specific sound installation that “rings” morning, noon, and evening, playing a short melodic phrase from specific spirituals found in the CBMR archives. Each spiritual chosen contains musical & lyrical messages that could have been used for pre-emancipation navigation on the underground railroad or inspiration.

2) Overcome

“Overcome” is a video work that is inspired by ways that music was used during the American Civil Rights Movement.

3) Dialogue

“Dialogue” is comprised of “listening posts” throughout Chicago. A number of DJs engage audiences in a discussion about the canon of African-American freedom songs.


Across this series, we hope to invite new ways of thinking about the archives that hold information about our existence—the records of profit during the era of American slavery, the relationships marked in our genetic information, and the strategies for survival encoded in our music. Our work in this area reflects on the information that sometimes vanishes from view, whether because it is ephemeral or because it has been buried. We hope our sounding the archives invite new ways of listening to the past and the future at the same time.

Mendi + Keith Obadike make music, art and literature. Their works include The Sour Thunder, an Internet opera (Bridge Records), Crosstalk: American Speech Music (Bridge Records), Black.Net.Art Actions, a suite of new media artworks (published in re:skin on M.I.T Press), Big House / Disclosure, a 200 hour public sound installation (Northwestern University), Phonotype, a book & CD of media artworks, and a poetry collection, Armor and Flesh (Lotus Press). They have contributed sounds/music to projects by wide range of artists including loops for soul singer D’Angelo’s first album and a score for playwright Anna Deavere Smith at the Lincoln Center Institute. You can find out more about them at http://obadike.com.

Featured image from authors’ website.

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Sound at MLA 2014

Happy new year, dear Sounding Out! readers! Early January brings about New Year’s resolutions, specials on bins for holiday ornaments, Three Kings’ Day, and our yearly MLA sound studies panel round-up. This year, MLA 2014 attendees will get another blast of cold temperatures because this year’s convention is in Chicago—not much of a difference weather-wise from Boston but just as exciting! If you’re undecided about what panels to check out or if you’re not sure about where to start with the MLA Program, you’re in the right place: I combed the MLA Program page by page and condensed it just for our sound studies aficionados. If you’re sitting this MLA out or if you’re just curious about what the following panels are all about, it’s easy to follow the conference from home if you have access to Twitter. MLA is one of the most active academic conferences on social media: there’s the lively twitter hashtag #MLA14, the individual hashtags for each session (#s–followed by the session number), and an attentive twitter account (@MLAConvention), so even if you’re not in Chi-town you can still see what’s going on at your favorite panels this week.

Whereas last year some of the sound-oriented panels had a particular digital angle, this year there are several panels look at the intersection of sound and literary studies. The titles may not suggest sound, but the presentations do. For example, panel #s384 Literary Crossroads: African American Literature and Christianity includes presentations on representations of gospel and spirituality in different African American books. Another panel of interest is #s414, Literature and Media in the Nineteenth-Century United States arranged by the Division on Nineteenth-Century American Literature. (This panel resonates nicely with Sounding Out!’s Sound in the Nineteenth Century forum which just ended last Monday.) The focus on literature may come from the fact that the MLA brings many literary scholars together, but it is encouraging that the study of sound is also overlapping with the study of literature.

"Street Musicians, Chicago" by Flickr user Diana Schnuth, CC-BY-NC-2.0

“Street Musicians, Chicago” by Flickr user Diana Schnuth, CC-BY-NC-2.0

Despite that the convention brings literature scholars from across the United States together, some of the more intriguing sound-oriented panels are not focused on literature at all. In fact, several panels address sound from the angle of music. Panel #s131, The Musics of Chicago brings together High Fidelity and Lupe Fiasco, and panel #s162 on the HBO series Girls includes Chloe H. Johnson’s paper “Dancing on My Own: Popular Music and Issues of Identity in Girls. Although the fields of literary studies and cultural studies are sometimes in tension with each other, some MLA presenters are approaching popular culture particularly from an aural angle.

Music is not the only presence of sound in the MLA Program. Several panels bring up sound in conjunction with pedagogy. Some of our readers may remember the forum Sounding Out! hosted last year on sound and pedagogy—a forum of which I was a part. I’m glad to see other language, composition, and literature teachers are thinking about sound too. Panel #s114, Dialects of English Worldwide: Issues in English Language Studies includes several papers that think about spoken English nowadays. For those who are interested in how the sound of students’ speech are intersected by structural racism and public policy will find lots to think about with this panel. If you’re looking for concrete suggestions on using sound as a pedagogical approach, panel #s213 has some answers. Twenty-First-Century Pedagogies, arranged by the Discussion Group on the Two-Year College includes a presentation on sound essays by Kathryn O’Donoghue from the Graduate Center at City Univ. of New York.

Where will Team SO! be at MLA 2014? Editor-in-Chief Jennifer Stoever-Ackerman can be found at the DH Commons pre-conference workshop on Thursday, January 9, 2014; she will be presenting Friday, January 10 at 8:30 am on her research on Lead belly and Richard Wright as part of panel #s221, Singing Out in the American Literary Experience. Regular writer Regina Bradley will be presenting Friday at 5:15 pm on panel #s403 Words, Works, and New Archives: Studying African American Literature in the Twenty-First Century. Guest blogger Scott Poulson-Bryant will be at panel #s447, The Seventies in Black and White: A Soundtrack on Saturday at 8:30 am. I will be presenting on Friday morning at panel #s218, a roundtable on the graduate seminar paper and will be leading panel #s788, Back Up Your Work: Conceptualizing Writing Support for Graduate Students on Sunday at 1:45 pm. You can catch us on Twitter: @lianamsilvaford and @soundingoutblog where we’ll be live-tweeting panels and keeping followers up to date on convention chatter. Who knows, maybe there’ll be an impromptu SO! tweet-up? Stay tuned to our social media feeds!

Before I go, a shameless plug: As of this month I am the new editor of the newsletter Women in Higher Education, so if you want to meet up and talk about the newsletter please let me know!

Did I miss something? Maybe I somehow missed you or your panel in this round up? Please let me know either via email, via tweet, or post on the Sounding Out! Facebook page.

Liana Silva-Ford is co-founder and Managing Editor of Sounding Out!.

Featured image: “Mississippi North” by Flickr user John W. Iwanski, CC-BY-NC-2.0

Jump to THURSDAY, JANUARY 9, 2014
Jump to FRIDAY, JANUARY 10, 2014
Jump to SATURDAY, JANUARY 11, 2014
Jump to SUNDAY, JANUARY 12, 2014

"Television Sam (I'm Your Main Man)" by Flickr user the justified sinner, CC-BY-NC-SA-2.0

“Television Sam (I’m Your Main Man)” by Flickr user the justified sinner, CC-BY-NC-SA-2.0


8:30 am-11:30 am 
3. Get Started in the Digital Humanities with Help from DHCommons

Chicago A–B, Chicago Marriott 

PRESIDING: Ryan Cordell, Northeastern Univ.; Josh Honn, Northwestern Univ.; Katherine A. Rowe, Bryn Mawr Coll.

The workshop welcomes language and literature scholars who wish to learn about, pursue, or join digital humanities (DH) projects but do not have the institutional infrastructure to support them. Representatives of DH projects and initiatives will share their expertise on project design, outline available resources and opportunities, and lead small-group training sessions on DH technologies and skills. Preregistration required.

12:00 pm-1:15 pm

31. Radical Curators, Vulnerable Genres: Lost Histories of Collecting, Editing, Bibliography

Michigan–Michigan State, Chicago Marriott

PRESIDING: Meredith L. McGill, Rutgers Univ., New Brunswick


Jessica J. Beard, Univ. of California, Santa Cruz;

Alex Black, Cornell Univ.;

Jane Greenway Carr, New York Univ.;

Ellen Gruber Garvey, New Jersey City Univ.

Laura Helton, Univ. of Virginia

Courtney Thorsson, Univ. of Oregon

33. Sir Walter Scott and Music

Sheffield, Chicago Marriott

Program arranged by the Lyrica Society for Word-Music Relations

PRESIDING: Jeff Dailey, Five Towns Coll.

1. “Cutting Out the Castle Quicksand: Scott’s Bride, Donizetti’s Lucia, and the ‘Personally Furious’ Ayn Rand,” Shoshana Milgram Knapp, Virginia Polytechnic Inst. and State Univ.

2. “‘Drifting through the Intellectual Atmosphere’ from Scott’s Old Morality to Liszt’s Hexameron,” Catherine Ludlow, Western Illinois Univ.

3. “Walter Scott, British Identity, and International Grand Opera: Isidore de Lara’s Amy Robsart(1893),” Tommaso Sabbatini, Univ. of Chicago

For abstracts, visit lyricasociety.org.

1:45-3:00 pm

75. Voice and Silence

Mississippi, Sheraton Chicago

Program arranged by the Division on French Medieval Language and Literature

PRESIDING: Matilda Tomaryn Bruckner, Boston Coll.

1. “Gut Feelings,” Jason D. Jacobs, Roger Williams Univ.

2. “Tomboy Silence,” Wan-Chuan Kao, Washington and Lee Univ.

3. “Giving Voice to the Word of God; or, Bernard of Clairvaux Sings the Song of Songs,” Kris Trujillo, Univ. of California, Berkeley


114. Dialects of English Worldwide: Issues in English Language Studies

Illinois, Chicago Marriott

Program arranged by the Discussion Group on Present-Day English Language 

PRESIDING: Elizabeth Bell Canon, Emory Univ.

1. “‘Speak the Language of Your Flag’: American Policy Responses to Nonanglophone Immigrants,” Dennis E. Baron, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana

2. “The Sounds of Silence: Standard and Nonstandard Englishes in Contemporary Ethnic American Writing,” Melissa Dennihy, Queensborough Community Coll., City Univ. of New York

3. “Star Spanglish Banter: Harnessing Students’ Linguistic Expertise,” Jill Hallett, Northeastern Illinois Univ.

4. “Emerging Attitudes toward New Media within the Discourses of Poetics and Literature,” April Pierce, Univ. of Oxford


131. The Musics of Chicago

Chicago H, Chicago Marriott 

PRESIDING: Shawn Higgins, Univ. of Connecticut, Storrs

1. “Sweet Home Chicago? (Dis)Locating the American ‘Race Record’ in High Fidelity,” Jürgen E. Grandt, Univ. of North Georgia

2. “Experiment and Exodus in the Music of Chicago,” Toshiyuki Ohwada, Keio Univ.

3. “Fly Girls or Blackface? The Racial and Gender Politics of Lupe Fiasco,” Jorge Santos, Univ. of Connecticut, Storrs

141. Enduring Noise: Sound and Sexual Difference

Illinois, Chicago Marriott

PRESIDING: Rizvana Bradley, Emory Univ.

1. “Listening to Gertrude Stein’s Repeating: Sonorous Temporality in The Making of Americans,” Erin McNellis, Univ. of California, Irvine

2. “Queer Extensities: Pauline Oliveros and Disco,” Amalle Dublon, Duke Univ.

3. “Metal, Reproduction, and the Politics of Doom,” Aliza Shvarts, New York Univ.

RESPONDING: Rizvana Bradley

7:00-8:15 pm

162. Girls and the F Word: Twenty-First-Century Representations of Women’s Lives

Los Angeles–Miami, Chicago Marriott 

PRESIDING : Tahneer Oksman, Marymount Manhattan Coll.

1. “‘My Shoes Match My Dress . . . Kind Of!’: The Politics of Dressing and Nakedness in Girls,” Laura Scroggs, Univ. of Minnesota, Twin Cities

2. “She’s Just Not That into You: Girls, Dating, and Damage,” Jennifer Mitchell, Weber State Univ.

3. “Dancing on My Own: Popular Music and Issues of Identity in Girls,” Chloe H. Johnson, York Univ., Keele

RESPONDING: Nancy K. Miller, Graduate Center, City Univ. of New York

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"Untitled" by Flickr user d76, CC-BY-NC-2.0

“Untitled” by Flickr user d76, CC-BY-NC-2.0


8:30 am-9:45 am

207. Diversifying the Victorian Verse Archives

Chicago A–B, Chicago Marriott 

PRESIDING : Meredith Martin, Princeton Univ.

1. “Recovering Tennyson’s ‘Melody in Poetry’: Salon Recitations and Musical Settings,” Phyllis Weliver, Saint Louis Univ.

2. “Morris Metrics: The Work of Meter in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” Yopie Prins, Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor

3. “Digital Archives and the Music of Victorian Poetry,” Joanna Swafford, Univ. of Virginia

For abstracts, visit https://sites.google.com/a/slu.edu/diversifying-the-victorian-verse-archives/

213. Twenty-First-Century Pedagogies

Michigan–Michigan State, Chicago Marriott

Program arranged by the Discussion Group on the Two-Year College 

PRESIDING: Stacey Lee Donohue, Central Oregon Community Coll.

1. “Not on Wikipedia: Making the Local Visible,” Laurel Harris, Queensborough Community Coll., City Univ. of New York

2. “Survival Spanish Online: Designing a Community College Course That Bridges Culture and Authentic Connections,” Cecilia McGinniss Kennedy, Clark State Community Coll., OH

3. “Sound Essays: A Cure for the Common Core,” Kathryn O’Donoghue, Graduate Center, City Univ. of New York

4. “Leveling Up! Gamifying the Literature Classroom,” Jessica Lewis-Turner, Temple Univ., Philadelphia

For abstracts, visit commons.mla.org/groups/the-two-year-college/announcements/ after 15 Dec.

217. Cuba on Stage

Arkansas, Sheraton Chicago

Program arranged by the Discussion Group on Cuban and Cuban Diaspora Cultural Production 

PRESIDING: Vicky Unruh, Univ. of Kansas

1. “José Triana, Virgilio Piñera, and the Racial Erotics of Cuban Tragedy,” Armando Garcia, Univ. of Pittsburgh

2. “Estorino’s Gray Ghosts,” David Lisenby, Univ. at Albany, State Univ. of New York

3. “Musical Trangressions on the Cuban Stage: Rap, Rock, and Reggaeton,” Elena Valdez, Swarthmore Coll.

4. “Locating the Malecón,” Bretton White, Colby Coll.

221. Singing Out in the American Literary Experience

Old Town, Chicago Marriott

Program arranged by the Discussion Group on Folklore and Literature 

PRESIDING: Mark Allan Jackson, Middle Tennessee State Univ.

1. “Re-sounding Folk Voice, Remaking the Ballad: Alan Lomax, Margaret Walker, and the New Criticism,” Derek Furr, Bard Coll.

2. “‘A Voice to Match All That’: Lead Belly, Richard Wright, and Lynching’s Sound Track,” Jennifer Stoever-Ackerman, Binghamton Univ., State Univ. of New York

3. “Stunting Gualinto: The Limits of Corrido Heroism in Americo Paredes’s George Washington Gomez,” Melanie Hernandez, Univ. of Washington, Seattle

For abstracts, write to majackso@mtsu.edu.


261. Applying Linguistics to the Learning of Middle Eastern Languages

Huron, Sheraton Chicago

Program arranged by the Discussion Group on General Linguistics 

PRESIDING: Terrence Potter, Georgetown Univ.

1. “How Strategic Can They Be? Differences between Student and Instructor Attitudes toward Language Learning Strategies,” Gregory Ebner, United States Military Acad.

2. “Needs-Analysis Informed Task Design in Arabic Foreign Language Programs in the United States: Insights from Learner Perceptions and Production,” Maimoonah Al Khalil, King Saud Univ., Riyadh

3. “Linguistic Advantages and Constraints in the Classroom: Judeo-Spanish as an L2,” Bryan Kirschen, Univ. of California, Los Angeles

For abstracts, write to tmp28@georgetown.edu.

263. John Clare: The Voices of Nature

Chicago C, Chicago Marriott

Program arranged by the John Clare Society of North America 

PRESIDING: Rochelle Johnson, Coll. of Idaho

1. “Speaking for the Trees: Margaret Cavendish, John Clare, and Voicing Nature,” Bridget Mary Keegan, Creighton Univ.

2. “Clare’s Air: Sound in Motion,” Paul Chirico, Univ. of Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Coll.

3. “John Clare: The Unusual and Challenging Natural Historian,” Eric H. Robinson, Univ. of Massachusetts, Boston

12:00 pm-1:15 pm

269A. Chicago Latina/o Writing: A Creative Conversation

Sheraton I, Sheraton Chicago

Program arranged by the Office of the Executive Director 

PRESIDING: Ariana Ruiz, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana

SPEAKERS: Rey Andújar, Centro de Estudios Avanzados de Puerto Rico y el Caribe

Brenda Cárdenas, Univ. of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

Paul Martínez Pompa, Triton Coll.

Achy Obejas, Chicago, IL

270. Women’s Education in Third World Countries

Parlor G, Sheraton Chicago

Program arranged by the Discussion Group on Interdisciplinary Approaches to Culture and Society 

PRESIDING : Shirin E. Edwin, Sam Houston State Univ.

1. “Narrative Approaches to Transmitting Regional Oral and Instrumental Literary Traditions in the Works of Aminata Sow Fall,” Julie Ann Huntington, Marymount Manhattan Coll.

2. “Gender, Class, and Education: Intersections in South Asian Literature,” Maryse Jayasuriya, Univ. of Texas, El Paso

3. “Women’s Schooling in Clarice Lispector’s Narrative: A Brazilian Education,” Alejandro E. Latinez, Sam Houston State Univ.

279. Dadaphone: Indeterminacy in Words and Music

Huron, Chicago Marriott

Program arranged by the Lyrica Society for Word-Music Relations and the Association for the Study of Dada and Surrealism 

PRESIDING : Jeff Dailey, Five Towns Coll.

1. “Black Dada,” Kathy Lou Schultz, Univ. of Memphis

2. “Aleatory Adaptation and Indeterminate Interpretation: Radiohead’s In Rainbows as Faustian Rock Opera,” Meg Tarquinio Roche, Northeastern Univ.

3. “Game Changer: Cage’s Word-Music Combination in ‘Renunion’ and ‘Solo 23,'” Sydney Boyd, Rice Univ.

4. “Graphic Notation in Contemporary Music and Its Debt to Dada,” Laura Prichard, Univ. of Massachusetts, Lowell

For abstracts, visit lyricasociety.org.

5:15 pm-6:30 pm

384. Literary Crossroads: African American Literature and Christianity

Addison, Chicago Marriott

Program arranged by the Conference on Christianity and Literature and the Division on Literature and Religion 

PRESIDING: Katherine Clay Bassard, Virginia Commonwealth Univ.

1. “God’s Trombones, the Social Gospel, and the Harlem Renaissance,” Jonathan Fedors, Univ. of Pennsylvania

2. “When the Gospel Sings the Blues in Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man,” Claudia Rosemary May, Univ. of California, Berkeley

3. “Faith Moves: Belief and the Body in Bill T. Jones’s Chapel/Chapter and Toni Morrison’sParadise,” Leslie Elizabeth Wingard, Coll. of Wooster

For abstracts, write to kcbassar@vcu.edu.

403. Words, Works, and New Archives: Studying African American Literature in the Twenty-First Century

Michigan–Michigan State, Chicago Marriott

Program arranged by the College Language Association 

PRESIDING : Warren Carson, Univ. of South Carolina, Spartanburg

1. “The Field and Function of African American Literary Scholarship: A Memorial and a Challenge,” Dana A. Williams, Howard Univ.

2. “The Black Book: Creating an Interactive Research Environment,” Kenton Rambsy, Univ. of Kansas

3. “Keepin’ It Interactive: Hip-Hop in the Age of Digital Reproduction,” Regina Bradley, Kennesaw State Univ.; Jeremy Dean, Rap Genius, Inc.

414. Literature and Media in the Nineteenth-Century United States

Chicago A–B, Chicago Marriott

Program arranged by the Division on Nineteenth-Century American Literature 

PRESIDING : Meredith L. McGill, Rutgers Univ., New Brunswick

SPEAKERS: Jonathan Elmer, Indiana Univ., Bloomington

Teresa Alice Goddu, Vanderbilt Univ.

Naomi Greyser, Univ. of Iowa

Brian Hochman, Georgetown Univ.

Christopher J. Lukasik, Purdue Univ., West Lafayette

Lauren A. Neefe, Stony Brook Univ., State Univ. of New York

For project statements, panelist biographies, and description of roundtable format, visit19thcamlitdiv.wordpress.com after 1 Dec.

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"Cubs Stomp" by Flickr user John W. Iwanski, CC-BY-NC-2.0

“Cubs Stomp” by Flickr user John W. Iwanski, CC-BY-NC-2.0


8:30 am-9:45 am

441. Socialist Senses

Ohio, Sheraton Chicago

Program arranged by the Discussion Group on Slavic Literatures and Cultures 

PRESIDING : Nancy Condee, Univ. of Pittsburgh

1. “The Materiality of Sound: Esfir Shub’s Haptic Cinema,” Lilya Kaganovsky, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana

2. “From the Cinema of Attractions to the Cinema of Affect in Early Socialist Realism,” R. J. D. Bird, Univ. of Chicago

3. “Ineluctable Modality of the Visible: Gorky’s Return and the Onset of Clarity,” Petre M. Petrov, Princeton Univ.

For abstracts, visit mlaslavic.blogspot.com/ after 30 Dec.

447. The Seventies in Black and White: A Soundtrack

Purdue-Wisconsin, Chicago Marriott 

PRESIDING : Jack Hamilton, Harvard Univ.

1. “Mutts of the Planet: Joni Mitchell Channels Charles Mingus,” David Yaffe, Syracuse Univ.

2. “Righteous Minstrels: Race, Writing, and the Clash,” Jack Hamilton

3. “Broken Masculinities: Black Sound, White Men, and New York City,” Scott Poulson-Bryant, Harvard Univ.

10:15 am-11:30 am

474. African American Voices from the Civil War

Michigan–Michigan State, Chicago Marriott 

PRESIDING : Timothy Sweet, West Virginia Univ., Morgantown

1. “The Color of Quaintness: Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Black Song, and American Union,”Jeremy Wells, Indiana Univ. Southeast

2. “‘If We Ever Expect to Be a Pepple’: The Literary Culture of African American Soldiers,” Christopher A. Hager, Trinity Coll., CT

3. “‘And Terrors Broke from Hill to Hill’: The Civil War Poems of George Moses Horton,” Faith Barrett, Duquesne Univ.

4. “The Negro in the American Rebellion: William Wells Brown and the Design of African American History,” John Ernest, Univ. of Delaware, Newark

485. Digital Practice: Social Networks across Borders

Missouri, Sheraton Chicago

Program arranged by the Division on Twentieth-Century German Literature 

PRESIDING : Stefanie Harris, Texas A&M Univ., College Station

1. “Kafka and the Kafkaesques: Close Reading Online Fan Fiction,” Bonnie Ruberg, Univ. of California, Berkeley

2. “Network Politics, Wireless Protocols, and Public Space,” Erik Born, Univ. of California, Berkeley

3. “Intersections of Music, Politics, and Digital Media: Bandista,” Ela Gezen, Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst

Responding: Yasemin Yildiz, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana

For abstracts, visit german.berkeley.edu/transit.

12:00 pm-1:15 pm

508. Performing Blackness in the Nineteenth Century

Chicago A–B, Chicago Marriott

Program arranged by the Division on Nineteenth-Century American Literature 

PRESIDING : Harvey Young, Northwestern Univ.

1. “Being Touched: Sojourner Truth’s ‘Spiritual Theatre’ and the Genealogy of Radical Black Activism,” Jayna Brown, Univ. of California, Riverside

2. “Frederick Douglass and the ‘Claims’ of Democratic Individuality in Antebellum Political Theory,” Douglas Jones, Princeton Univ.

3. “’Dey Make Me Say Dat All De Time: Performance Art, Objecthood, and Joice Heth’s Sonic of Dissent,” Uri McMillan, Univ. of California, Los Angeles

509. Becoming Chroniclers: Latin American Women Writers and the Press, 1920–73

Parlor F, Sheraton Chicago 

PRESIDING : Vicky Unruh, Univ. of Kansas

1. “The Opportunities of Technology: Cube Bonifant’s Radiophonic Chronicles in El universal ilustrado,” Viviane A. Mahieux, Univ. of California, Irvine

2. “Key Moments in the Subversion of a Genre: Alfonsina Storni and Clarice Lispector Redefine Womanhood,” Mariela Méndez, Univ. of Richmond

3. “Issues of Gender and Genre: Isabel Allende and Clarice Lispector Writing Chronicles, 1968–73,” Claudia Mariana Darrigrandi, Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez

1:45 pm-3:00pm

572. Illness and Disability Memoir as Embodied Knowledge

Los Angeles–Miami, Chicago Marriott

Program arranged by the MLA Committee on Disability Issues in the Profession 

PRESIDING : Rachel Adams, Columbia Univ.

1. “Recoding Silence: Teresa de Cartagena, Medieval Sign Lexicons, and Deaf Life Writing,” Jonathan H. Hsy, George Washington Univ.

2. “‘Twisted and Deformed’: Virginia Woolf, Alison Bechdel, and Crip-Feminist Autobiography,” Cynthia Barounis, Washington Univ. in St. Louis

3. “‘My Worry Now Accumulates’: Sensorial and Emotional Contagion in Autistic Life Writing,” Ralph James Savarese, Grinnell Coll.

For papers or abstracts, write to rea15@columbia.edu after 1 Jan.

3:30 pm-4:45 pm

586. Early Modern Media Ecologies

Great America, Chicago Marriott 

PRESIDING: Jen Boyle, Coastal Carolina Univ.

1. “Needlework Networks: Paper, Prints, and Female Authorship,” Whitney Trettien, Duke Univ.

2. “Sidney Circularities: Music and Script in the Contrafactum Lyric,” Scott A. Trudell, Univ. of Maryland, College Park

3. “Stage, Stall, Street, Sheet: Multimedia Shakespeare,” Adam G. Hooks, Univ. of Iowa

For abstracts, visit www.scotttrudell.com.

591. Multilingualism in Native American and Aboriginal Texts

Kane, Chicago Marriott

Program arranged by the Division on American Indian Literatures 

PRESIDING : Beth H. Piatote, Univ. of California, Berkeley

1. “Reading Resistance and Resisting Readings in a Bilingual Text,” Laura J. Beard, Univ. of Alberta

2. “Narrative and Orthography in Cree Oral Histories,” Stephanie J. Fitzgerald, Univ. of Kansas

3. “Ongwe Onwe Languages in the Fourth Epoch of Iroquois History,” Penelope M. Kelsey, Univ. of Colorado, Boulder

4. “Poetics of ka ‘āina and na ‘ōiwi: Language(s) of Land, Earth, and the Hawaiian People in Haunani-Kay Trask’s Night Is a Sharkskin Drum,” Nicole Tabor, Moravian Coll.

5:15 pm-6:30 pm

624. Boethius’s Consolation of Philosophy in Medieval and Early Modern England: Form and History

Old Town, Chicago Marriott 

PRESIDING : Ian Cornelius, Yale Univ.

1. “Singing and Speaking Boethius in Anglo-Saxon England,” Anne Schindel, Yale Univ.

2. “Sensible Prose and the Sense of Meter: Ethics and the Mixed Form in Boethius and After,” Eleanor Johnson, Columbia Univ.

3. “Boethius’s Consolation of Philosophy and an Expansive Theology in the Late Sixteenth Century: Queen Elizabeth’s Translation in Context,” Linda Suzanne Shenk, Iowa State Univ.

For abstracts, write to ian.cornelius@yale.edu.

625. Verbal and Visual Satire in the Nineteenth Century

Chicago F, Chicago Marriott 

PRESIDING : Joseph Litvak, Tufts Univ.

1. “Organizing Anarchy: Class, Intellectual Property, and Graphic Satire,” Jason Kolkey, Loyola Univ., Chicago

2. “The Reemergence of Radical Satire in the Late Nineteenth Century,” Frank A. Palmeri, Univ. of Miami

3. “Turn-of-the-Century Satirical Plots of Fenian and Anarchist Terrorism,” Jennifer Malia, Norfolk State Univ

645. Current Issues in Romance Linguistics

Parlor F, Sheraton Chicago

Program arranged by the Discussion Group on Comparative Romance Linguistics 

PRESIDING : Andrea Perez Mukdsi, Univ. at Buffalo, State Univ. of New York

1. “Attribution in Romance: Reconstructing the Oral and Written Tradition,” Martin Hummel, Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz

2. “Pronouns and the Author-Reader Relationship in Academic Portuguese,” Karina Veronica Molsing, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul; Cristina Perna, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul

3. “The Semantic Feature [+INFLUENCE] and the Spanish Subjunctive,” M. Emma Ticio Quesada, Syracuse Univ.

4. “Palatalization in Chilean Spanish and Proto-romance,” Carolina Gonzalez, Florida State Univ.

For abstracts, write to perezmukdsi@gmail.com.

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"Mayb Your New Year Be Merry and Bright..." by Flickr user Jason Mrachina, CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0

“Mayb Your New Year Be Merry and Bright…” by Flickr user Jason Mrachina, CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0


12:00 pm-1:15 pm

742. Socialist Culture in the Age of Disco: East European Popular Pleasures

Parlor F, Sheraton Chicago

Program arranged by the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages 

PRESIDING: Jessie M. Labov, Ohio State Univ., Columbus

1. “Imperial Disco: Czeslaw Milosz and Science Fiction,” Mikolaj Golubiewski, Free Univ.

2. “The ‘Movement of Writing Workers’ and State Stability in the 1970s German Democratic Republic,” William Waltz, Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison

3. “Flaming Socialist Creatures: Hippies as Auteurs in Soviet Latvia,” Mark Svede, Ohio State Univ., Columbus

For abstracts, visit mlaslavic.blogspot.com/.

744. Mass versus Coterie: The Audiobook

Missouri, Sheraton Chicago

Program arranged by the Division on Prose Fiction 

PRESIDING : Rebecca L. Walkowitz, Rutgers Univ., New Brunswick

1. “‘Fully Fleshed Out and Filled with Emotion’: Accent, Region, and Identification in the Reception of The Help,” Sydney Bufkin, Univ. of Texas, Austin

2. “Joyce, LibriVox, and the Recording Coterie,” Brandon Walsh, Univ. of Virginia

3. “Alien Stereo: China Mieville’s Embassytown,” Christopher Pizzino, Univ. of Georgia

1:45 pm-3:00 pm

788. Back Up Your Work: Conceptualizing Writing Support for Graduate Students

Grace, Chicago Marriott 

PRESIDING : Liana Silva-Ford, Houston, TX


Tara Betts, Binghamton Univ., State Univ. of New York;

Lee Ann Glowzenski, Duquesne Univ.;

Annemarie Pérez, Loyola Marymount Univ.

Abigail Scheg, Elizabeth City State Univ.

792. Old Materials, New Materialisms

Missouri, Sheraton Chicago

Program arranged by the Division on Methods of Literary Research

1. “Objects, Authors, and Other Matter(s) in the Gloria Anzaldúa Archive,” Suzanne M. Bost, Loyola Univ., Chicago

2. “Writing Histories of Listening: Acoustemology as Literary Practice,” Ely Rosenblum, Univ. of Cambridge

3. “Even the Stones Cry Out: Archival Research and the Inhuman Turn,” Andrew Ferguson, Univ. of Virginia

4. “A Life of Its Own: A Vital Materialist Look at the Medieval Manuscript as an Agentic Assemblage,” Angela Bennett Segler, New York Univ.

"my kind of razzmatazz" by Flickr user David D'Agostino, CC-BY-NC-SA-2.0

“my kind of razzmatazz” by Flickr user David D’Agostino, CC-BY-NC-SA-2.0

Sound at SCMS 2013


SCMSlogo-roundFor the 2013 Society for Cinema and Media Studies meeting in Chicago, Sounding Out!  enlisted one of our favorite guest writers, radio scholar Neil Verma (whom you’ll remember from our excellent Tune Into the Past series from summer 2012).  When we heard the news that his recent book Theater of the Mind: Imagination, Aesthetics and Radio Drama (University of Chicago Press) won this year’s SCMS first book prize  we were ecstatic. . .and not surprised in the least. It’s brilliant–for a taste read Neil’s SO! blog post from June 2012, “Radio’s “Oblong Blur”: Notes on the Corwinesque”). So, please join us in congratulating Neil, and then,  join Neil for a thoughtful preview of sound studies at SCMS 2013.  He’s one of the reasons why it’s such a great year for the field. —Editor-in-Chief, Jennifer Stoever-Ackerman

For the Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS), this year may mark the point at which sound studies became – likely temporarily, and perhaps distressingly – normal. That’s something to ponder at this year’s annual conference of the Society, which takes place from March 6th to the 10th at the Drake Hotel in Chicago.

SCMS last came to the Second City in 2007. A glance at the panels from that year highlights how quickly the conference has expanded. If you exclude ads, this year’s program is 80 pages longer than its counterpart six years ago. Back then, SCMS featured 323 panels and workshops. This year there are 456. And sound studies work has grown disproportionately. In 2007, by my count, there were just 13 panels with two or more papers featuring sound as an “analytical point of departure or arrival,” to borrow language that Jonathan Sterne has recently used to characterize the field. This time we have 31 such panels.

That’s a lot of foot traffic. And it’s extremely good news for the field. But if these trends continue, it is also true that visitors focused on sound may only be able to attend a fraction of all panels and papers on the subject. As a result, sound has transformed from one possible pathway through SCMS into a field of many possible itineraries. Not only is the durability of that situation tenuous, but its intellectual ramifications are as unclear as they are promising.

Sound Art Installation in Downtown Chicago, Image by Flickr user meironke

Sound Art Installation in Downtown Chicago, Image by Flickr user meironke

A Conference in Transition

As it grows, the SCMS conference is restructuring. In a move sure to stir controversy, for instance, the Society has taken the experimental step of dramatically scaling back its slate of screenings, citing poor attendance at such events during recent conferences in Boston and New Orleans. Seen in conjunction with other developments – a focus on social media (follow @SCMStudies on Twitter), expanded online video, and a marvelous new podcast sponsored by Cinema Journal – the reduction of screenings represents a small step away from the cinema as a privileged object of study and experience.

That idea is borne out by the offerings. This year’s conference features as much exciting work on Call of Duty as on The Clock, with more papers on Girls than on Godard, along with compelling offerings on topics ranging from Rancière to Revenge, from Warhol to Lego, and home movies to Grindr. The word “television” appears on 58 pages of the current catalog; back in 2007 it appeared on just 14. As Barbara Klinger points out in her introduction to the program, this year truly elevates the “M” for “Media” in “SCMS.”

Skeptics may see a conference drifting from its raison d’être, while optimists will see an increasingly capacious meeting that is willing to undertake the experimentation for which many members have long been calling. As the conference grows, both sides can expect perhaps less intimacy than in previous years, with more of the action localizing around Caucuses and Scholarly Interest Groups (SIGs).

Neil Verma's Theater of the Mind (University of Chicago Press)

Neil Verma’s Theater of the Mind (University of Chicago Press)

That’s true for sound. This year marks the debut of a new Radio Studies SIG, recognizing an area of scholarship that has been growing steadily for decades. Congratulations to Bill Kirkpatrick and Alex Russo, among others, for bringing this about. Readers interested in the radio SIG should hop over to Antenna to read Kirkpatrick’s terrific piece on the emergence of radio studies at SCMS this year (and be sure to catch his paper on disability and radio on Saturday at 1:00).  In conjunction with the Sound Studies SIG, which has been driving a sound agenda since Jay Beck and Tony Grajeda helped form it in 2007, the Radio SIG is sure to be a magnet for future presenters and an advocate within the institutional SCMS structure.

The Radio SIG’s inaugural workshop features leading scholars to explore critical approaches (9:00 – 10:45 on Saturday), and that should be at the top of the agenda for SO! readers. I’m pleased to report that the Radio SIG’s first official meeting (9:00-10:45 on Sunday) will feature special guest Johanna Zorn, founder and Executive Director of the Third Coast International Audio Festival. The Sound SIG, meanwhile, helmed by Norma Coates and Tim Anderson, will hold its annual meeting on Friday (12:15-2:00) with an exciting presentation by John Corbett and Terri Kapsalis, who will speak about Sun Ra and his place in the history of Chicago sound and visual culture. Beyond these marquee events, these two SIGs together will sponsor a total of 13 panels this year.

That’s already quite an itinerary. Now let’s look deeper.

Further Highlights

In her SCMS post last year, Jennifer Stoever-Ackerman called for an effort to reimagine sound studies in the larger architecture of SCMS. She wrote,

Very few panels engage with sound as a primary modality and there are far less individual papers threading sound into panel discussions not explicitly about sound.  We need more of both kinds of scholarly engagement […]

Image by Flicker user pbeens

Image by Flicker user pbeens

Indeed. While many problems persist, including an uneven focus on music – it’s odd to see so little on music in a city rich in its history, from Bronzeville to Bloodshot Records – this year’s offerings also show great progress. Panels that engage sound as a primary modality have fresh takes on established subjects (Hollywood film music, voice narration in documentary, archiving, etc.) but many also raise subjects that SCMS might have been wary of in previous years, such as earth-sensing, sound in film noir and video game sound. And there is tremendous creativity in individual papers, with scholars engaging topics from sound in Yiddish Cinema and Russian pop to the Black audio film archive and player pianos in education, all sprinkled among panels considering other issues. There are not one but two papers about sound in Terrence Malick’s films, in two separate panels, neither of which is about sound.

What other goodies can you find this year? I’m glad you asked. Here are some highlights

  • There are a couple of terrific panels on gender and sexuality this year. I’d recommend starting off your visit to SCMS by attending a panel on film music that Norma Coates is hosting on Wednesday (10:00-11:45), and following up with Jennifer Wang’s panel “Gender Trouble across the Dial” on Friday (9:00-10:45).
  • On Thursday (from 9:00 to 10:45) I’m pleased to be chairing a panel with Jacob Smith, Mary Ann Watson, Shawn VanCour, and Alex Russo considering radio writer Norman Corwin as a transmedia author, continuing a project that we started on this blog last summer. Those interested in sites of overlap between radio and other media institutions should also check out “Radio in Transition” (Friday, 11:00-12:45), chaired by Cynthia Meyers, and “Economies of Media Industries” (Saturday, 3:00-4:45), featuring Jim Lastra and Douglas Gomery.
  • The panel “Earth-Sensing” (Wednesday, 2:00-3:45) looks compelling, with work by Lisa Parks on broadcast infrastructure and Google Earth, as well as a presentation by Janet Walker on audiovisualizations of sea level rise. It might pair well with a panel on deep history later that day (4:00-5:45) which will feature, among other topics, Mack Hagood speaking on the work of Irv Teibel.
  • Another great pairing is available on Friday. Try attending “Sounding the Radio Archive” (12:15-2:00), with projects from junior scholars and a response from Debra Rae Cohen. Then check out “Live Sound in Film and Television” (2:15-4:00), featuring exciting work on rockumentary by Michael Baker and sound in situation comedy by Foley artist Vanessa Ament-Gjenvick. Together, these panels should give newcomers a good sense of the future of sound studies.
  • One theme that has emerged this year is a renewed interest in processes of adoption and incorporation of sound technology. For that, consider attending “Transitional Soundtracks” on early Hollywood film music (Thursday, 3:00-4:45), “Channeling Stereo Histories” (Saturday, 5:00-6:45), and “Rethinking Technologies of Audiovision” (Sunday, 9:00-10:45).
  • There are two panels on sound in the mass media in Japan, each in a different period: “Archeologies of Intermediality in Prewar Japanese Cinema” (Friday, 2:15-4:00) and “Japanese Celebrity Cultures” (Saturday, 5:00-6:45). Only one is sponsored by Sound Studies, so the appearance of both may be a fortuitous coincidence.
  • Another cluster of panels forms around issues of voice, talk, and orality. On Wednesday, there’s “Orality and Storytelling” (10:00-11:45), followed by “Speech, Music and the Sound of Film and Media” (12:00-145). On Thursday, there’s “Spectators: Sound and Talk” (1:00-2:45) and “Vocal Projections: The Disembodied Voice in Documentary” (5:00-6:45). Then on Saturday there is “The Actor’s Voice” (1:00-2:45) and “Cinema Sound, Music, and Voice” (3:00-4:45).
  • Don’t forget the workshops! There’s great stuff this year on platform studies, spreadable media, and close reading, as well as several meetings on teaching and job searching. Attending these will give you a chance to hear from Mary Ann Doane, Michele Hilmes, Henry Jenkins, Peter Krapp, Jason Loviglio, Jason Mittell, Elena Razlogova and Jonathan Sterne, to name just a few.

That’s a lot of material, and it’s not even everything, which is precisely my point. For maybe the first time, SCMS has far more sound studies material than you can feasibly attend.

So is it time to indulge the pernicious scholarly habit of naming a moment of change and uncertainty as one of emergence? Should we declare that sound has come of age at last, a cliché that, as Michele Hilmes has pointed out, sound studies has been using for a hundred years?

Let’s not and say we did. There’s much more to do in terms of diversifying objects and cultures for sonic exploration. And rather than seeing papers that study sound in new ways, I’d love to see future presenters using sound in innovative ways to think about objects and events well outside the perimeter of sound studies, drawing experimental modes of listening in to the conference experience and challenging how scholarship itself is fashioned and displayed.

Chicago-based artist Nick Cave's "sound suits," Image by Flickr User Jeremy Zilar

Chicago-based artist Nick Cave’s “sound suits,” Image by Flickr User Jeremy Zilar

As well as being a point of analytical departure and arrival, after all, sound is also a way of traveling between points. Sterne is right when, in the introduction to The Sound Studies Reader,  he argues that sound studies should be a place where sonic imaginations are “challenged, nurtured, refreshed and transformed” (10),  but sound studies can do that for other kinds of imaginaries, too. Sound is a medium to be studied, but it is also a way of doing media studies, and that is a property that should be highlighted in a scholarly society open to transition.

Or, to put it another way, as sound scholarship worms its way ever further into the mainstream of SCMS, let’s do our best to keep it weird.

Note: Below I’ve listed times for panels that I’m guessing will be of most interest to SO! readers, plus special events and a few sessions that touch on professional matters. This year, SCMS has not released the room assignments on the PDF circulated prior to the event, so attendees will have to find that information in the printed catalog. I’m sorry for any errors or omissions. If your panel is missing or I’ve made some other mistake, please email me at nkhverma@gmail.com and I’ll be happy to amend this post. 

Neil Verma is a Harper-Schmidt Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Chicago, where he teaches media aesthetics. Verma works on radio and its intersection with other media, and has taught subjects including film studies, sound, art history, literature, critical theory and intellectual history. His book, Theater of the Mind: Imagination, Aesthetics, and American Radio Drama, is published by the University of Chicago Press and is the winner of the 2013 SCMS First Book Prize.

Chicago-based artist Nick Cave's "sound suits," Image by Flickr User Jeremy Zilar

Chicago-based artist Nick Cave’s “Sound Suits,” Image by Flickr User Jeremy Zilar

Jump to WEDNESDAY, March 6
Jump to THURSDAY, March 7
Jump to FRIDAY, March 8
Jump to SATURDAY, March 9
Jump to SUNDAY, March 10


Session A 10:00 – 11:45 a.m.

A19. Film Music: Gender, Sexuality, and Taste Formations


Jack Curtis Dubowsky, ACADEMY OF ART UNIVERSITY,  “Louisiana Story, Homoeroticism, Hollywood, and Americana Music”

Landon Palmer, INDIANA UNIVERSITY, BLOOMINGTON, “Pre‐existing Film Music as Traveling Text: The Case of 2001: A Space Odyssey”

Zhichun Lin,  OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY,  “Presenting Her through Music: The Theme Music of the Chinese Film Version of Letter from an Unknown Woman”

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


A22. Orality and Storytelling


Kester Dyer,  CONCORDIA UNIVERSITY, “Storytelling and Testimony: Archiving Melancholia in Alanis Obomsawin’s Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance”

Katherine Brewer Ball,  NEW YORK UNIVERSITY, “The ‘Brainwashing’ of Patty Hearst and Sharon Hayes: Forging Alliances and Forgetting the Lines”

Yifen Beus, BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY, HAWAII,  “Deterritorializing Essentialism: Narrating Place and Space in Filming the South Seas”

Sheila Petty, UNIVERSITY OF REGINA,  “Spaces in‐Between: Zahra’s Mother Tongue as Performative Documentary”


Session B 12:00 – 1:45 p.m.

B19. Speech, Music, and the Sound of Film and Media


Nishant Shahani, WASHINGTON STATE UNIVERSITY, PULLMAN,  “‘I Have a Voice’: Speech, Silence, and the Redemption of Empire”

Eric Dienstfrey, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN‐MADISON, “New Methods of Multichannel Surround Sound Analysis and Contemporary Film Aesthetics”

Brian Fauteux, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN‐MADISON, “Satellite Sounds and the Transnational Circulation of Music”

Heather Warren‐Crow, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN‐MILWAUKEE, “The Phonetics of Early Video Art”


B21. Workshop on Publishing on Digital Platforms

Chair: Christopher Hanson,  SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY








Session C 2:00 – 3:45 p.m.

C4. Character and Performance

Chair: Matthew Solomon, UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN

Ganga Rudraiah, INDEPENDENT SCHOLAR, “Singing and Dancing like an ‘Aravaani’: Emerging Articulations of Transgender Performances in Contemporary Tamil Cinema”

Kim Wilkins, UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY, “Cast of Characters: The American Eccentrics and Pure Cinematic Characterization”

Elizabeth Alsop, WESTERN KENTUCKY UNIVERSITY, “The Imaginary Crowd: Neorealism and the Uses of Coralità”


C20. Earth‐Sensing: Media Above and Below the Surface

Chair: Nicole Starosielski, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY


SANTA BARBARA, “Moving to Higher Ground?: Documentary Film and (Other) Scientific Audiovisualizations of Sea Level Rise”

Lisa Parks, UNIVESITY OF CALIFORNIA, SANTA BARBARA, “Signal Territories: Studying US Broadcast Infrastructure Using Google Earth”

Eva Hayward, UNIVERSITY OF NEW MEXICO, “Technologies of Migration: Conservation Science and Whale Media”

Nicole Starosielski, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY, “Sensing the Seafloor: Undersea Observatories and the Contours of Media Distribution”


C21.Workshop on Platform Studies: Debating the Future of a Field

Chair: Caetlin Benson‐Allott, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY






Session D 4:00 – 5:45 p.m.

D12. Deep History II Insight from Artifacts


Kyle Stine, UNIVERSITY OF IOWA, “Cybernetic Movie Machines: Norbert Wiener’s Cinema Integraph and Richard S. Morse’s Data Soundtracks”

Sindhu Zagoren, UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA‐CHAPEL HILL, “We Want the Airwaves: Early Radio and the Struggle for Airspace”

Mack Hagood, INDIANA UNIVERSITY, “Nixon, Mobster, Bigfoot: The Performative Audio Media Forensics of Irv Teibel”



SANTA BARBARA, “The Role of Spanish Language Radio in the United States”

B7. Brian Gregory, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY, “Packaging Sound for Schools: Selling the Player‐Piano and the Phonograph to American Education”

C12. Matthew Malsky, CLARK UNIVERSITY, “Early CinemaScope Sound Experiments”

D4. Lauhona Ganguly, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY “Production Cultures and Cultural Re‐Productions in a Global Television Industry: Rethinking Global Cultural Economy with Indian Idol”

D7. David Harvey, UNIVERSITY OF IOWA,  “Rethinking Voice in the Essay Film Form”


Special Events Wednesday Evening

6:00 – 8:00 pm

Caucus/SIG special event

Remembering the Life & Legacy of Alexander Doty

Grand Ballroom, Lobby Level


6:00 – 9:00 pm

Caucus/SIG special event

Public Media 2.0

A Conversation on the Future of Urban Documentary and Social Change

Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago Avenue

Crown Fountain, Millennium Park, Chigaco, Image by Flickr user blg002

Crown Fountain, Millennium Park, Chigaco, Image by Flickr user blg002


Session E 9:00 – 10:45 a.m.

E9. Sounds and Silences

Chair: Charles Kronengold, STANFORD UNIVERSITY

Chelsey Crawford, OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY, “Sound Off: Absolute Cinematic Silence and the Unconscious”

Manuel Garin, UNIVERSITY OF POMPEU FABRA, “Silent Film Gameplay: Keaton, Mario, and the Misadventures of Visual Freedom”

Charles Kronengold, STANFORD UNIVERSITY, “Puzzling Interfacing, Musical Thinking, and Multisensory Experience”


E16. Workshop. Scholarly Social Media: Successes, Failures, and Future

Chair: Elizabeth Ellcessor, INDIANA UNIVERSITY







Session F 11:00 – 12:45 p.m.

F22. Norman Corwin and Transmedia Authorship


Jacob Smith, NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY, “Norman Corwin’s Radio Realism”

Mary Ann Watson, EASTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY, “Norman Corwin and the Big Screen: Artistic Differences”

Shawn VanCour, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA, “Corwin on Television: A Transmedia Approach to Style Historiography”

Alexander Russo, THE CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY OF AMERICA, “Sonic Legacy: Exploring the ‘Corwinesque’ in Radiolab”


Session G 1:00 – 2:45 p.m.

G13. Spectators: Sound and Talk

Chair: CarrieLynn Reinhard, DOMINICAN UNIVERSITY

Leo Rubinkowski, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN‐MADISON, “‘When You Know the Words to Sing . . .’: Sing‐Along Exhibition and Participatory Audiences”

Annie Dell’ Aria, THE GRADUATE CENTER, CUNY, “Doug Aitken’s Song 1: Cinema‐in‐the‐Round”

Carter Moulton, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN‐MILWAUKEE, “Reading Accents: Subtitles and Spectatorship in Multiplex Cinema”

CarrieLynn Reinhard,DOMINICAN UNIVERSITY, “Answering the Whats, Hows, and Whys of Film Spectatorship: An Empirical Investigation and Comparison of Film Reception”


Session H 3:00 – 4:45 p.m.

H16. Transitional Soundtracks: The Vicissitudes of Hollywood Film Music, 1927–1933


Lea Jacobs, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN‐MADISON, “Words and Music: Dialogue Underscoring in the Early Musical”

Michael Slowik, KUTZTOWN UNIVERSITY, “From Presentational Aesthetics to Narrative Absorption: Film Music in Warner Bros. Part‐Talkies, 1927–1929”

Jeff Smith, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN‐MADISON, “What Exactly Is a Partial Cue?: Jurisdictional Conflict in Warner Bros. Films of the Early Sound Era”

Katherine Spring, WILFRID LAURIER UNIVERSITY and Maggie Clark, WILFRID LAURIER UNIVERSITY, “Trading on Songs: The Emergence of the Musical Genre in the Trade Press”


H23. Workshop on Spreadable Media: Creating Meaning and Value in a Networked Culture.







Session I 5:00 – 6:45 p.m.

I7. Vocal Projections The Disembodied Voice in Documentary


Shilyh Warren, UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT DALLAS, “Documentary Attunement and Earthly Crisis”

Maria Pramaggiore, NORTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY, “‘You’re Gonna Miss Me’: The Disembodied Voice in Rock Documentary”

Jean Walton, UNIVERSITY OF RHODE ISLAND, “Animating Voices, Onscreen and Off, in Kathleen Shannon’s Working Mothers”

Respondent: Jason Middleton, UNIVERSITY OF ROCHESTER


I22. Off Beat
Music/Film Mismatches


Caryl Flinn, UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN, “Christopher Plummer Learns to Sing”

Kathryn Kalinak, RHODE ISLAND COLLEGE, “How the West Was Off‐Beat: Howard Hawks, Dimitri Tiomkin, and the Score for The Big Sky”

Krin Gabbard, STONY BROOK UNIVERSITY, “‘What Is This Music?’: Jimmy Knepper with Charles Mingus and Tom Cruise”

Respondent: Kay Dickinson, CONCORDIA UNIVERSITY


I23. Workshop on Success and Survival in the 21st Century: Career Strategies for Under‐
or Unrepresented Graduate Students and Early Career Faculty in Film and Media Studies

Chair: Theresa L. Geller GRINNELL COLLEGE









E20. Mark Hain, INDIANA UNIVERSITY, “Visualizing the Great American Songbook: Queer Archiving, Class, and Memory”

F3. Joan McGettigan, TEXAS CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY, “Play This Movie Loud: Sound and Silence in Terrence Malick Films”

F4. Michelle Cho, BROWN UNIVERSITY, “K‐pop, YouTube and ‘Pop Cosmopolitanism’ in the Digital Age”

F7. Diego Zavala, MONTERREY INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY AND HIGHER EDUCATION, “Voice, Testimony, and Reflexivity in Werner Herzog ́s Documentary Films”

F11. Shannon Mattern, THE NEW SCHOOL, “Echoes and Entanglements: A Sonic Archaeology of the City”

F13. Colleen Montgomery, UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN, “Pixarticulation: Vocal Performance in the Toy Story and Monsters Inc. Franchises”

G5. Steven Rybin, GEORGIA GWINNETT COLLEGE, “Beyond the Voice: Patterns of Performance in Terrence Malick’s Films”

URBANA‐CHAMPAIGN, “Noise in Chinese Neorealist Cinema: A Temporary Reverse Hierarchy (TRH) Model and Political Statements”

G20. Hannah Hamad, KING’S COLLEGE LONDON, “Musical Moments of Women’s Work and Affective Labor on Contemporary British Television”

H4. Regina Arnold, STANFORD UNIVERSITY, “Hardly Strictly Utopia: Race, Space, and the American Rock Festival”

H22. Maura Edmond, UNIVERSITY OF MELBOURNE, “Here We Go Again: Making (and Remaking) Music Videos After YouTube”

I3. Melissa Click, UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI, “Making Monsters: Lady Gaga, Social Media, and Fan Culture”

I9. Vanessa Chang, STANFORD UNIVERSITY, “Audiovisualizations: Musical Screens and the Sound Image”

I12. Rachel Haidu, UNIVERSITY OF ROCHESTER, “Triangulation and Transmission in the Works of Black Audio Film Collective, James Coleman, and Steve McQueen”

I17. Desiree Garcia, ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY, “Everything Old Is New Again: The Sing‐Along Musical Film”


Special Events Thursday Evening

5:30 – 7:00 pm

Youth Film Festival—Competition

DePaul University, Downtown Campus, 14 E. Jackson


8:00 pm


Rediscoveries in the Phil Morton Archive

Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State Street


9:00 pm

Chicago Symphonies: Nontheatrical Shorts from the Chicago Film Archives

Cinema Borealis, 1550 N. Milwaukee Avenue, 4th floor

(Please note: there is no elevator)

Seating is extremely limited. (Reservations Martin Johnson (martin.johnson@nyu.edu)

Frank Gehry-designed sound system at the Pritzker Music Pavilion in Millennium Park, Chicago, Image by Flickr User anita 363

Frank Gehry-designed sound system at the Pritzker Music Pavilion in Millennium Park, Chicago, Image by Flickr User anita 363



Session J 9:00 – 10:45 a.m.

J12. Gender Trouble across the Dial: Disrupting Conventions of Women’s Mediated Representation in Radio and Television, 1930–1960


Jennifer Wang, INDEPENDENT SCHOLAR, “‘Recipe for Laughs’: Comedy While Cleaning in Housekeeping Radio Programs”

Kathryn Fuller‐Seeley, GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY, “‘What Are You Laughing At, Mary?’: Transgressive Women and Gender Performance on the Jack Benny Radio Program”

Catherine Martin, BOSTON UNIVERSITY,  “Adventure’s Fun, but Wouldn’t You Rather Get Married?: Gender Roles and the Office Wife in Radio Detective Dramas”

Joanne Morreale, NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY, “Dreams and Disruption: The Fifties Sitcom”


J18. Workshop on Surface Tension: The Stakes and Fates of Close Analysis


Co-chair: Karl Schoonover, UNIVERSITY OF WARWICK






J19. Sound in Video Games and Interactive Media


Chris Russell, NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY, “The Atari VCS and the Making of Digital Sound”

Costantino Oliva, UNIVERSITY OF MALTA, “Soundmarks in Digital Games Soundscapes”

Lori Landay, BERKLEE COLLEGE OF MUSIC ,“Sound, Embodiment, and the Experience of Interactivity in Video Games and Virtual Environments”

Respondent: Benjamin Aslinger, BENTLEY UNIVERSITY


J23. Workshop on Digital Humanities and Film and Media Studies: Staging an Encounter


Co-Chair: Jason Mittell, MIDDLEBURY COLLEGE






Session K 12:15 – 2:00 p.m.

K14. Sounding the Radio Archive

Chair: Ian Whittington, MCGILL UNIVERSITY

Katherine McLeod, UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO, “Acoustic Archives: Listening to the CBC Radio Archives of Anthology”

Melissa Dinsman, UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME, “Clogged Networks: The Theoretical and Practical Difficulties of Radio Archivization”

Ian Whittington, MCGILL UNIVERSITY, “Tracing the Voice: Una Marson and the Ethics of the Radio Archive”



* Meeting of the Sound Studies Schoarly Interest Group *

12:15 – 2:00 pm

The Club International Room, Lobby Level


Session L 2:15 – 4:00 p.m.

L4. Live Sound in Film and Television


Co-chair: Randolph Jordan, SIMON FRASER UNIVERSITY

Benjamin Wright, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA ,“We’ll Fix it in Post: The Professional and Creative Constraints of Production Sound Mixing”

Vanessa Ament‐Gjenvick, GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY,  “Mad About You: Production Sound Challenges in 
the Television Situation Comedy with Live Studio Audience”

Randolph Jordan, SIMON FRASER UNIVERSITY, “Hearing the Cinematic City: Location Film Sound and Soundscape Research in Acoustic Ecology”

“The Sound of Rockumentary: Location Recording and Documentary Sound Practice”


L11. Archeologies of Intermediality in Prewar Japanese Cinema


Keiko Sasagawa, KANSAI UNIVERSITY, “Silent Films with Popular Music: The Intermediality of Kouta Films, 1896–1929”

Michael Raine, UNIVERSITY OF WESTERN ONTARIO, “A Revolution in Film Accompaniment: Record Playback Systems in Japanese Silent Cinemas”

Chie Niita, WASEDA UNIVERSITY, “Japanese Cinema and the Radio”

Johan Nordström, WASEDA UNIVERSITY, “Songs that Bind: Connections between the Early Japanese Sound Cinema and the Record Industry”


L14. Genre Studies: Variations on the Musical


Paulina Suarez, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY, “Stage, Backstage, Everyday Life: Scenes of Transition in the Cabaret Picture”

Sean Griffin, SOUTHERN METHODIST UNIVERSITY, “‘And Then I Wrote . . .’: Enshrining the American Songbook in the Postwar Musical Biopic”

Amanda McQueen, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN‐MADISON, “Songs and Shadows: The Question of the Classical Film Noir Musical, 1941–1958”

Frances Smith, UNIVERSITY OF WARWICK, “‘(I’ve Had) the Time of My Life’: The Afterlife of Dirty Dancing (Ardolino, 1987) in the Contemporary Romantic Comedy”


L16. Workshop on Graduate Education in Film and Media Studies

Chair: Masha Salazkina, CONCORDIA UNIVERSITY








J9. Anastasia Saverino, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY, “Liveness Ever After: Popular Music and the Aesthetics of Referentiality”

J14. Richard McCulloch, UNIVERSITY OF EAST ANGLIA, “‘When Camp Goes Mainstream?’: Eurovision Audiences, Ironic Appreciation, and the Production of Comedy”

L5. Martha Shearer, KING’S COLLEGE LONDON, “‘Don’t You Realize a Big City Like this Changes All the Time?’: The Hollywood Musical and the Rise of Cold War New York”


Special Events Friday Evening

4:15 – 5:30 pm

Awards Ceremony

Grand Ballroom, Lobby Level

Noise Canceling Tunnel at the Illinois Institute for Technology, image by Flickr User Zol87

Noise Canceling Tunnel at the Illinois Institute for Technology, image by Flickr User Zol87


Session M 9:00 – 10:45 a.m.

M6. “Hot‐Jazz in Stone”: 
The Urban Landscapes and Soundscapes of Film Noir


Michael Dwyer, ARCADIA UNIVERSITY, “It Takes the Village: The Neighborhood outside Hitchcock’s Rear Window”

Jans Wager, UTAH VALLEY UNIVERSITY, “From Paris to Ishpeming: Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, and the Landscape of Noir”

Richard Ness, WESTERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY, “Killer Riffs: Music as Cultural Identifier in Contemporary Neo‐Noir”

Michele Schreiber, EMORY UNIVERSITY, “David Fincher1s San Francisco as Neo‐Noirscape”


M17.  Workshop on Strategies for the Academic Job Market

Chair: Ashley Elaine, York UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA






M23. Workshop
 on Critical Approaches to Studying the Radio Industries








Session N 11:00 – 12:45 p.m.

N1. Networked Media

Chair: Patrick Jagoda, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO

Doron Galili, OBERLIN COLLEGE, “Networked Media Fantasies and the Project of Networking the World”

Max Dawson, NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY, “‘It’s the Network!’: Broadcasting, Cellular, and the Politics of Networks”

Patrick Jagoda, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO, “Between: Network Aesthetics and Networked Games”

Respondent: Wendy Chun, BROWN UNIVERSITY


N4. Radio in Transition, Past and Present


Kyle Barnett, BELLARMINE UNIVERSITY, “Rethinking Radio’s Rise through the Phonograph’s Fall”

Cynthia Meyers, COLLEGE OF MOUNT SAINT VINCENT, “Radio with Pictures: How the Ad Industry in the 1940s Debated the Transition from Radio to TV”

Andrew Bottomley, UNIVERSITY OF
WISCONSIN‐MADISON, “The Liveness of Internet Radio: Streaming, Sociability, and the Experience of Radio in the Convergence Era”


Session O 1:00 – 2:45 p.m.

O15. The Actor’s Voice


Kelly Kirshtner, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN‐MILWAUKEE, “Actor/Microphone: Acoustic Presence in Sound Collection Practices”

Yiman Wang, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SANTA CRUZ, “Speaking in a ‘Forked Tongue’: Anna May Wong’s Linguistic Cosmopolitanism”

Katherine Kinney, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, RIVERSIDE, “The Resonance of Brando’s Voice”

Katherine Fusco, UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA, RENO, “Voices from Beyond the Grave: Virtual Tupac’s Live Performance at Coachella”


O23. Workshop on
Cinema and Media Studies in Higher Education: Perspectives from Administrators









Session P 3:00 – 4:45 p.m.

P11. Cinema Sound, Music, and Voice


Babak Tabarraee,  UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA “A Pragmatic Approach to the Metaphor of Silence in the Oeuvre of Abbas Kiarostami”

Paula Musegades, BRANDEIS UNIVERSITY, “I Don’t Think We’re in the Nineteenth Century Anymore: Copland’s Establishment of Atmosphere in Golden Age Hollywood Films”

Nilo Couret, UNIVERSITY OF IOWA, “The City Listened: Ethnography, Vernacular Speech, and Niní Marshall’s Vocal Stardom”

Kate McQuiston, UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII, MANOA, “Germanic Yearnings and Musical Dreams: Rehearing Stanley Kubrick”


P12. Remixing Hip-Hop Film and Visual Culture

Chair: Michele Prettyman‐Beverly, MIDDLE GEORGIA COLLEGE

Lauren Cramer, GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY, “‘What Does Keepin’ It Real Look Like?’: Examining the Visual Language of Hip‐Hop Album Covers”

Charles Linscott, OHIO UNIVERSITY, “DJ Spooky’s Hip‐Hop Time Machine”

Michele Prettyman‐Beverly, MIDDLE GEORGIA COLLEGE, “Beautiful, Dark, and Twisted: Kanye West, Genius, and Madness in Hip‐Hop Film and Visual Culture”


P18. Economies of Media Industries


Josh Shepperd, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN‐MADISON, “The Emergence of the Non‐Monetary Economy of Public Broadcasting at the Allerton House Seminars, 1949–1950”

Colin Burnett, WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY, “Rethinking the Culture‐Style Conundrum in Film Studies: Marketplace, Language, Artistry”

James Lastra, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO, “The Economies of Modern Sound Design”

Douglas Gomery, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND/LIBRARY OF AMERICAN BROADCASTING, “Economies of Scale in Mass Media: The Case of Radio Broadcasting”


Session Q 5:00 – 6:45 p.m.

Q11. Japanese Celebrity Cultures

Chair: Colleen Laird, UNIVERSITY OF OREGON

Junji Yoshida, OLD DOMINION UNIVERSITY, “The Works of Samurai Legend in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction: Restoring the Voice of Silent Humor in Horo Zanmai”

Kyoko Omori, HAMILTON COLLEGE, “In Occupied Japan, A Radio Star is Born: The Role of the Allied Powers in the Creation of an Anti‐governmental Political Satire Program”

Colleen Laird, UNIVERSITY OF OREGON, “AKB48’s Tears of Surprise: Teen Idol as Fetish and the Consumption of Star Image”

Forrest Greenwood, THE COLLEGE OF ST. SCHOLASTICA, “A Spectral Pop Star Takes the Stage: Hatsune Miku and the Materialization of the Ephemeral in Contemporary Otaku Culture”


Q18. Channeling Stereo Histories The Shaping of Innovation in Film and Television Sound


Helen Hanson, UNIVERSITY OF EXETER, “Invention, Innovation, and Compromise: The Shaping of Multi‐Channel and Multi‐Speaker Film Sound in Hollywood’s Studio Era”

Jay Beck,  CARLETON COLLEGE, “Theorizing Stereo: The Growth, Decline, and Rebirth of Multi‐Channel Film Sound”

Katherine Quanz, WILFRID LAURIER UNIVERSITY, “Canadian Films’ Slow Transition to Multi‐Channel Sound”

James Lyons, UNIVERSITY OF EXETER, “‘You Don’t Need Stereo TV for Laverne and Shirley’: The Development of American Stereo TV Broadcasting



M15. Paul Reinsch, CHAPMAN UNIVERSITY, “Song(s) of the South: Country Music in/and Exploitation Cinema”

M16. Terri Francis, YALE UNIVERSITY, “Baker’s Burlesque: The Ironies and Erotics of Josephine Baker’s Celebrity”

M21. Jennifer Porst, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, LOS ANGELES, “The Sound Track Ban: The American Federation
of Musicians’ Role in Excluding Feature Films from Television before 1955”

P13. Kristen Galvin, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, IRVINE, “Jem: Girlhood, MTV, and Technological Transformation in the 1980s”

P19, Olufunmilayo Arewa, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA,
 IRVINE ,“Making Music: Copyright Law and Creative Processes”

O6. Akil Houston, OHIO UNIVERSITY, “Unrequited Love: Hip‐Hop Culture and 1970s Black Cinema”

O14. Bill Kirkpatrick, DENISON UNIVERSITY, “Voices Made for Print: Disabled Voices on the Radio”

O17. Barbara Klinger, INDIANA UNIVERSITY, “From Theaters to the Airwaves: Classic Hollywood Films and Transmedia in the 1940s”

Q9. Isabel Huacuja Alonso, UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN, “Censoring Film Music in All‐India Radio and the Case of a Failed Auditory Utopia”

Q15. Assem Nasr, INDIANA UNIVERSITY–PURDUE UNIVERSITY, FORT WAYNE, “Reliable Sources: Oral Cultures and News Media in Lebanon”

Q22. Sarah Kessler, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, IRVINE, “I’m Your Puppet: Nina Conti’s Her Master’s Voice”


Special Events Saturday Evening

8:00 – 11:00 pm

SCMS Screen Test

Live the Warholian Experience at a Multiple‐Projection Event

Featuring “Screen Tests” of attendees shot by legendary Chicago filmmaker Judy Hoffman

Gallery 400, University of Illinois at Chicago, 400 s. Peoria Street


8:00 pm

With a Voice Like the Lake

New Experimental Media Work from Chicago

The Nightingale Theater, 1084 N. Milwaukee Avenue.

Signs designating public performance areas, downtown Chicago, Image by Flickr User romanaklee

Signs designating public performance areas, downtown Chicago, Image by Flickr User romanaklee



Session R 9:00 – 10:45 a.m.

RI. Meaning and Multiplicity in Game Environments

Chair: Nina Huntemann, SUFFOLK UNIVERSITY

Lyn Goeringer, OBERLIN CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC, “Beyond Guitar Hero: Sound Shapes, Sonic Inclusivity and Peer‐to‐Peer Musical Experience”

Ian Peters, GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY, “Peril Sensitive Sunglasses, Batarangs, and Dark Lords of the Sith
in Miniature: Videogame Feelies, Diegesis, and the Tangible Gaming Experience”

Benjamin Aslinger, BENTLEY UNIVERSITY, “Unlocking Kurt: Celebrity Likenesses and Ludic Music”

Nina Huntemann, SUFFOLK UNIVERSITY, “Foul Play v. Fair Use: Likeness Licensing Litigation in Sports Video Games”


R20. Rethinking Technologies of Audiovision


Jonathan Crylen, UNIVERSITY OF IOWA, “The Whale Who Wanted to Sing at the Ciné: Humpback Whale Recordings and Film Sound”

Hannah Frank, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO, “Beyond Mickey‐Mousing: American Animated Cartoons Learn to Talk, 1926–1933”


Respondent: Steve Wurtzler, COLBY COLLEGE


* Meeting of the Radio Studies Scholarly Interest Group*

The Club International Room, Lobby Level



R5. Kate Newbold, NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY, “Sounding TV History: Boundaries of the Archive, Memory, and Personal Media Histories in the Case of Phil Gries’s Archival Television Audio”

R12. Mika Turim‐Nygren, UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS, CHICAGO, “Tevye: Language, Sound, and the Resonance of Ritual in the Late Yiddish Cinema”

R19. Christopher Cwynar, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN‐MADISON, “In a Town This Size: The Vinyl Café, the CBC, and the Nostalgic Mythos of Small‐Town Canada”

S1. Theodora Trimble, UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH, “When All Boys Become Men: Russian Pop Music and the Global Ethnographic Idiom”

S4. Mark Lynn Anderson, UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH, “Roads to Ruin; or, the Woman’s Voice in Late Silent Cinema”

S11. Sushmita Banerji, UNIVERSITY OF IOWA, “Band‐Baaja in the Background: Manmohan Desai’s Music”

Chicago Blues Festival, 2008, Image by Flickr User Janet and Phil

Chicago Blues Festival, 2008, Image by Flickr User Janet and Phil

Interested in checking out the last few years of “Sound at the SCMS”?  Peep  the following links:

“Sound at SCMS 2012,” 26 March 2012

“Sound at SCMS 2011,” 28 February 2011

“I didn’t say look; I said listen”: The People’s Microphone, #OWS, and Beyond

Papier-mâché Bullhorn Spotted at Zuccotti Park, Photo by Author

On a Tuesday right after Valentine’s Day in 2011 thousands of people marched on the Wisconsin capitol and good-naturedly, but firmly, took over the building.  They came for a hearing scheduled by the state government’s Joint Finance Committee, and as crowds swelled out on the snow-covered lawn a long line of citizens formed indoors, waiting their turn to address the Committee and give brief remarks about proposed changes to the state budget.

Up for discussion was the Governor’s proposal to cut public employees’ benefits and eliminate their collective bargaining rights, and having gotten word of widespread outcry, the co-chairs of the Committee had released this statement:

We welcome public participation in our representative democracy.  Unlike two years ago when Democrats did not hold a public hearing for the last budget repair bill, we want to listen to individuals’ concerns.  Due to the large number of participants, each person will be given up to 2 minutes to address the committee.  This will ensure that everyone has their voice heard.

Late that night, the Committee cut off public testimonies in spite of a line still stretched down the hall.  One group refused to leave and staged an occupation of the capitol building in protest of both the bill and the foreclosure of public input.

"The Eye of the Storm"--Image by Ken Dunbeck

Over the next few weeks, people slept overnight on the marble floor while bigger groups assembled there each day, reportedly in numbers reaching between 70,000 and 100,000.  Many carried signs backing public sector workers, but the overall majority showed their solidarity with the protest simply by wearing bright “Badger red” hats, coats, sweaters, and shirts, University of Wisconsin memorabilia now transformed into signs of political support for all of the state’s public institutions.  The view from upper levels of the capitol rotunda struck a dramatic portrait as people ringed the center of the room facing inward.  One person who spent a lot of time there told me he liked to call it the “eye of the storm.”

Domed spaces tend to be noisy.  Sound bounces off of the curvature of the ceiling at so many different angles that what’s audible on the floor quickly takes on so many threads of reverberation that a single voice gets easily obscured.  In the Wisconsin capitol, handheld electric bullhorns became instrumental for leading chants and making announcements, but people found they didn’t always do the trick.  In one reported instance, a megaphone still wasn’t enough for one woman’s voice to be heard across the rotunda, and so she broke her announcement into fragments and waited in between them as people standing near her repeated each one in loud unison.  “State Senator Dale Schultz [repeated]…has withdrawn his vote for the bill [repeated].”

Today that variation of call and response is widely regarded as an iconic feature of the Occupy Wall Street campaign, where it has been likened to liturgy, to brainwashing, to a game of “telephone,” to Garrett Morris’s “News for the Hard of Hearing” bit from Saturday Night Live, and to Monty Python’s Life of Brian.



Yet also, as the practice was manifest at lower Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park, it has attracted great interest and variety of comment regarding how it might reflect the values and objectives of those gathering in downtown New York City.  It was purported to unite a crowd; it helps ensure that “no one is left to feel isolated and alone;” it accelerates the exchange of information because it “forces everyone to edit group public speech down to the essentials;” it slows the campaign and gives it valuable time to develop; it is “a lesson in the obstinacy required for intentional, durable citizenship.”

The Human Microphone in Action, October 10, 2011, photo by Paul VanDerWerf

Although one need only consider the depth of history stretching out prior to the invention of electric amplification to be certain that the method of communication isn’t new to this year nor even to this century, the question of its recent emergence remains important for identifying possible affinities across boundaries that might otherwise divide protest actions.  Last winter in Wisconsin, after transmitting the message about Senator Schultz, the demonstrators apparently didn’t carry on with it the way people did in lower Manhattan, but one need not stop at noting that this proves the technique wasn’t invented this fall in New York.  In the capitol building, members of the Wisconsin public instituted a different audio innovation that reflects a shared sense of purpose between the two protest actions.  And if one follows a similar connection recently posited in Rolling Stone Magazine between Occupy Wall Street and factory takeovers in Argentina, one might bring into focus a call and response operating across even broader stretches of time and space.

In Wisconsin, the civil disobedience broke out immediately after lawmakers ended the budget hearing with citizens still waiting to speak, and in the following days an alternative system of public testimony took shape on the floor of the capitol rotunda.  According to one member of the collective who facilitated its operation, the forum emerged in conjunction with a circle of drummers, who, during pauses in their playing, invited individuals to sequentially address all those gathered using megaphones carried in by the public.  Soon after moving up to a single-speaker amplifier that had been provided on friendly loan, some of the drummers pooled their money and purchased a 70-watt (RMS) portable public address system, an additional extension speaker, and a Shure SM58 for, according to one, “whomever wanted to speak, ensuring their voices were heard, never cutting anyone off or denying anyone the right to speak.”  With what I submit as telling coincidence, they called the apparatus “The People’s Mic.”

Here is a clip that came up when I used Google to search with the terms “people’s microphone Wisconsin video.”



There are important contrasts between this platform for testament and the call and response technique that has garnered recent notoriety under the same name.  In its Zuccotti Park incarnation, the people’s microphone is often celebrated as a clever workaround designed in response to the prohibition against using electric sound amplifiers in public without a permit.  However, its key feature is the reciprocity it demands between the person speaking “into” the microphone and others gathered in the space.  In this way it not only attenuates the hierarchy usually exerted by one amplified person over the soundscape, but it also fosters the pursuit of accord within the group overall, because the method’s very functioning relies so heavily on the crowd’s ongoing willingness to participate:



In Wisconsin, the People’s Mic did provide citizens a platform otherwise reserved for government and union officials (and the celebrities of their choosing), but individual testimonies were still unidirectional and the system proceeded without the same means of direct and immediate exchange, at least in the realm of sound.  As we see in these clips, in Wisconsin, the People’s Mic required the largest number of people to keep quiet for the longest amount of time.  Sometimes people had to keep especially quiet because the sound of chanting from outside was bleeding into the space.



However, while much of the discussion of the people’s microphone constructed in Zuccotti Park centers on its horizontal, consensus-oriented nature, why reduce the method’s oppositional potential to a matter of challenging government’s increasing control over the audible city? Fortunately, as though taking a more direct cue from the People’s Mic as it was instigated in Wisconsin, people have recently begun pushing the call and response version adopted in New York past the confines of community building, realizing its practical potential to channel a message and grab the attention of leaders far too often unavailable, unwilling, or uninterested in taking time to—as the Wisconsin Joint Finance Committee had grandly promised—“welcome public participation in our representative democracy.”

The following clips show how the people’s microphone in its new iteration has been used to satisfy the goal more explicitly associated with its Wisconsin variation—that of getting heard.  The first comes from an October 25,2011 meeting of the New York City Panel for Education Policy, where a crowd packing a public forum forced board members to relinquish control of the proceedings and allow a statement conveyed on behalf of parents and teachers.



And here in a clip from a November 3, 2011 breakfast meeting at the upscale Union League Club in Chicago, people used the technique as it is now most widely associated with the New York City campaign and directly reconnected it to the efforts in Wisconsin, not only in the sense that they focused their amplifying echo at a particular intended audience, but also by virtue of whom they chose to address:



While some might take exception to these two examples as uses of the people’s microphone without enough reciprocity in mind, I have some confidence that viewers will look upon the second clip, especially, as an overdue carriage bearing a bit of just that.  But more importantly to the issue of how the different iterations fit together—Madison, New York City, and beyond—both of these scenes are peaceful, attention-grabbing, and they appear to stem from no more seditious an effort than to urge democratically elected leaders to entertain the voices of their constituents even, and especially, if they aren’t using a “corporate microphone” to speak.  Now, with New York police having cleared Zuccotti Park and thrown the Wall Street campaign into yet another bout with uncertainty, it will be especially interesting to find out where, how, and by whom, the people’s microphone is picked up and repurposed again.  In Wisconsin, a drive to recall Governor Scott Walker just got underway, and if demonstrations break out again at the capitol, I expect the portable PA will be back up and running.  How will people use the people’s mic this time?  How will they speak to those recently evicted from Zuccotti Park?

Ted Sammons is completing a doctorate in anthropology at the Graduate Center, CUNY.

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