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Sound Studies: Things that Talk

ENGL 034.402
crosslisted as: CINE 138.401
instructor(s):
TR 3-4:30 evening screenings T 4:30-6:30

This course provides an introduction to the emerging field of “sound studies” with a focus on speech and hearing in the modern period. Talking things such as the telephone, radio, phonograph, sound film, and speaking automata allowed the reproduction and recording of the voice, which was previously imagined to be ephemeral, and largely personal. Has the manufacture of speech and hearing changed the nature of communication? What are the distinctions between oral and visual language? Is speech essentially human? Do new technologies for speaking allow new forms of sociality and politics? We will pay particular attention to sound film as a means for editing and broadcasting the voice and as a medium that explicitly interrogates technological modernity.