Double Book Launch with Carolyn Birdsall and Elodie A. Roy

Sonic Objects of Desire?

In contemporary culture, outdated ideas persist about sound media, such as radio, as being for the ears only. Yet sound media cultures have also variously engaged vision, touch, smell, and taste. This event will focus on the cross-sensory and material qualities of sound media by a double book launch of new books in Media Studies by Carolyn Birdsall and Elodie A. Roy.

This event will be on site only

This double book launch addresses the role of the senses and materiality in two areas: Carolyn Birdsall will present how her new book Radiophilia investigates the “love for radio” across the globe, and spanning 100 years from early wireless to digital media. How has radio’s appeal been shaped by its “look and feel” as well as its sounds? And how have audience/fan attachments to radio been reflected in everyday practices of loving, knowing, sharing, and saving this medium?

Elodie A. Roy will speak about how Shellac in Sonic and Visual Culture treats the long material history of shellac, revealing some of its global stories and trajectories as a material of vision and sound across centuries. What are the hidden histories and forms of labour contained within gramophone discs? How can considering the overlooked “raw” materials of media help us tell different stories about past and contemporary media environments and reflect on our daily engagement with them? During this launch, we will celebrate the release of both books, with moderation by Toni Pape and a response from Natalie Scholz.

About the speakers

Carolyn Birdsall is Associate Professor of Media Studies, University of Amsterdam, where she is affiliated with the Television and Cross-Media team. Her publications include Nazi Soundscapes (2012) and Listening to the Archives (2019, co-edited with Viktoria Tkaczyk). Her most recent book is Radiophilia (Bloomsbury, 2023).

Elodie A. Roy is a media and material culture theorist with expertise in the history of phonography. She is the author of Media, Materiality and Memory: Grounding the Groove (2015), and the co-editor of Phonographic Encounters: Mapping Transnational Cultures of Sound, 1890-1945 (2022). Her latest publication is Shellac in Sonic and Visual Culture: Unsettled Matter (Amsterdam University Press, 2023).

Natalie Scholz is Senior Lecturer of modern and contemporary history at the University of Amsterdam. Her latest publication is Redeeming Objects: A West German Mythology, which is forthcoming in 2023 with University of Wisconsin Press.

Toni Pape (moderator) is Assistant Professor of Media Studies at the University of Amsterdam. He is the author of Figures of Time: Affect and the Television of Preemption (2019) and his current research project “The Aesthetics of Stealth” focuses on practices of disappearance in contemporary media.

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