Hearing Modern History. Auditory Cultures in the 19th and 20th Century

Museum for Communication / Berlin Brandenburg Academy of Sciences
9th Blankensee Colloquium, Sponsored by the Kooperationsfonds at the Wissenschaftskolleg, Institute for Advanced Study Berlin, Organized by Dr. Daniel Morat, Free University Berlin
17.06.2010 - 19.06.2010
Daniel Morat

Visual history has experienced a remarkable boom in the field of cultural and historical studies over the past few years. Even though the question of how visual productions and practices change is not limited to a given period, it often goes along with the thesis of a hegemony of vision in the modern age. But this emphasis on the “scopic regimes of modernity” (Martin Jay) obscures the fact that since the mid 19th century the very conditions and habits of hearing and listening have also been subject to fundamental change occasioned by modern phenomena such as urbanization, industrialization, mechanization, and the emergence of sound recording media. Accordingly, it appears appropriate for historians of modernity to deal not only with visual history but also with the cultural meaning of hearing and listening and the historical changes they have undergone. The 9. Blankensee Colloquium on “Hearing Modern History. Auditory cultures in the 19. and 20. Century” will do so by investigating sound in such diverse fields as urban history, the history of science, the history of objects, and the history of modern subjectivity.

The keynote lecture on Thursday 6 pm is open to the public.

If you wish to attend the rest of the conference, please contact daniel.morat@fu-berlin.de by May 31.


Thursday, June 17
Museum for Communication,
 Leipziger Straße 16, Tagungsraum

15:00 Arrival and Greetings

15:30 DANIEL MORAT (FU Berlin): Introduction

16:00-17:30 Panel I: Theoretical Approaches
Chair: DORIS KOLESCH (FU Berlin)

WOLFGANG ERNST (HU Berlin): Towards a Media-Archaeology of Sonic Articulation

HOLGER SCHULZE (UdK Berlin): The Sound and the Senses. Historical Anthropology of Sound

18:00-19:30 Public Keynote Lecture
MARK M. SMITH (University of South Carolina): Futures of Hearing Pasts

Friday, June 18
Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences, Jägerstraße 22-23, Einsteinsaal

9:30-11:00 Panel II: Sounds of Urban Pasts
Chair: PAUL NOLTE (FU Berlin)

KARIN BIJSTERVELD (Maastricht): Auditory Topoi in the Representation of Urban Soundscapes

ANNELIES JACOBS (Maastricht): Analyzing the Dramatization of Sound in the Urban Past

11:30-13:00 Panel III: Music Listening in the City

SVEN OLIVER MÜLLER (Bielefeld/Firenze): Suspense, Ennui, and the Invention of Silence. Berlin, London, Paris, and Vienna 1850-1900

PHILIP V. BOHLMAN (Chicago) / LARS-CHRISTIAN KOCH (Berlin) / SEBASTIAN KLOTZ (Leipzig): Berlin, Chicago, Kolkata. Urban Auditory Cultures in Historical and Comparative Perspective

14:30-16:00 Panel IV: Sounds of Science

ANTHONY ENNS (Dalhousie University): The Human Telephone. Physiology, Neurology, and Sound Technologies

ALEXANDRA HUI (Mississippi State University): Noteworthy Neighbors? Hearing in the Laboratory and Listening on the Street at the End of the Nineteenth Century

16:30-18:00 Panel V: Objects of Sound
Chair: REBECCA WOLF (FU Berlin)

STEFAN GAUSS (UdK Berlin): Listening to the Horn. On the Cultural History of Phonograph and Gramophone

CHRISTINE EHARDT (Vienna): Phones, Horns, and Audio-Caps. Listening in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

Saturday, June 19
Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences, Jägerstraße 22-23, Einsteinsaal

9:30-11:00 Panel VI: Auditory Cultures in Interwar Germany
Chair: YARON JEAN (Leipzig)

AXEL VOLMAR (Siegen): In Storms of Steel. Staging the Soundscape of World War I in the Weimar Republic

CAROLYN BIRDSALL (Amsterdam): The Documentary Ear? Sound Aesthetics and the Auditory Imagination in Interwar Germany

11:30-13:00 Panel VII: Auditory Identities in Britain
Chair: THOMAS MERGEL (HU Berlin)

JOHN M. PICKER (MIT Boston): Aural Anxieties and the Advent of Modernity

JAMES MANSELL (Manchester): Sound and Selfhood in Early Twentieth-Century Britain

14:30-16:00 Panel VIII: City Sounds Now and Then

UTA KORNMEIER / GABY HARTEL (ZfL Berlin): SFX and the City. The Perception of Urban Ambient Sound in London

VALERIA MERLINI / OLAF SCHÄFER (UdK Berlin): Symphony of a Metropolis – A Dualistic Listening Experience

16:00-17:00 Concluding Discussion
Chair: VEIT ERLMANN (University of Texas at Austin)


Dr. Daniel Morat
Friedrich-Meinecke-Institut, FU Berlin
Koserstr. 20, 14195 Berlin
+49 (30) 838 52764
+49 (30) 838 56806

Hearing Modern History. Auditory Cultures in the 19th and 20th Century, 17.06.2010 – 19.06.2010 Berlin, in: H-Soz-Kult, 03.05.2010, <www.hsozkult.de/event/id/termine-13822>.