Derek Miller: The Acoustic Academy

The inaugural Sawyer Seminar on Hearing Modernity heralds an exciting year ahead. Veit Erlmann and Jonathan Sterne’s meditations on the disciplinary and institutional pressures confronting Sound Studies reminded me that the field’s attraction derives in part from its promise of novelty. If we begin with listening, Erlmann and Sterne suggest, we might hear new epistemologies,… Read more »

9/16: Session 1. Grand Narratives

On September 16, 2013, Veit Erlmann and Jonathan Sterne inaugurated our “Hearing Modernity” series with papers and presentations addressing the question of “grand narratives” in thinking about histories of sound and listening. As with all sessions, their pre-circulated papers can be found under “Papers” (for the password to unlock papers, contact us). We have also… Read more »

On not seeing the forest for the fox suits

by Olivia Lucas   Ylvis’ viral music video asks, “What does the Fox say?” Commentary on the video concentrates on the way the song riffs on popular culture and music in the style of Psy and The Lonely Island.[1] Indeed, the video makes liberal use of outlandish animal costumes, imaginative vocalizations (stunningly subtitled) and sarcastically… Read more »

Reading group: Unpacking two grand narratives

By Olivia Lucas Last Tuesday, the reading group held its first official meeting of the academic year, in the run-up to the first seminar on Monday. (The reading group will be meeting every other Tuesday – please let us know if you’d like to join! We will be reading previous work by the seminar speakers.)… Read more »

Reading Group: 10 Years Audibly Past

By Peter McMurray The centerpiece of the “Hearing Modernity” seminar will be the presentations by various authors of some of their latest writing on sound, listening and culture. With the exception of the final session with Jacques Attali, those sessions will consist of each author giving a 10-minute overview of their pre-circulated paper, followed by… Read more »

Ian Power: Thinking of Sound

When thinking of studying sound, or of hearing modernity, the mind tends to shift almost immediately to that of sonic environment. R. Murray Schafer’s fundamental text The Soundscape provided a fascinating examination of how sonic environment defines our living situation; some “keynote” sounds are so ingrained as to be “rarely listened to consciously by those… Read more »


Welcome to the SoundBlog. This is a space where a group of people will post regularly on topics relating to sound. The blog is closely associated with the Sawyer Seminar “Hearing Modernity” which is taking place at Harvard University in 2013/14. You’re on the Hearing Modernity website, so you probably already know all there is… Read more »