Three Contributions to the “Sonic Turn”

Porcello, Thomas

Since roughly the mid-1990s, scholars in a number of humanities and social science disciplines have turned their attention to ontological, episte-mological, and phenomenological questions concerning sound. Historians Corbin (1998), Smith (1999), and Rath (2003), for example, have sought to "re-sound" historical spaces and eras; historians of science Bijsterveld (2001), Thompson (2002), and Blesser and Salter (2007) have examined architectural acoustics and the construction of a built sonic modernity; Gitelman (1999), Sterne (2003), and Weheliye (2005) have, albeit from quite different perspectives, explored the nexus of sound recording and reproduction technologies and cultural practices in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; in a special issue of Social Studies of Science, Pinch and Bijsterveld (2004) called for the establishment of a field of "sound studies"; and, while having entered the discussion of the sonic somewhat earlier, film historians and theorists, especially Lastra (2000), Altman, ed. (1992), and Chion (1994), have provided crucial analytical and historical sonic frameworks to think both with and against.


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August 18, 2022