Sound Clash: Listening to American Studies

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The field of American studies has a long tradition of scholarship and research into the social and cultural worlds of sound. The essays in this volume highlight the key role of sound in the formation of central themes and areas of inquiry within contemporary American studies.

The editors have adopted an interdisciplinary approach to their study of sound, reflecting on its cultural, political, technological, economic, socio-historical, spatial, temporal, affective, and formal contexts. The selected essays analyze sound and explore inter-American soundscapes within several areas, including

• media technologies and consumption• race, sex, and gender• citizenship, belonging, and community• nationalism and citizenship• time and historical method• the public sphere and social change

How have sound technologies and sonic media practices informed American identities? What role have hearing and listening played in formations of race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, community, and class? What are the political economies of sound? The contributors to Sound Clash address these questions and more as they think through sound as a critical space, listening as a critical and cultural act, and sonic media as key technological sites of investigation.

Supplementary sound clips are available at the American Quarterly website,

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Kara Keeling is an associate professor in the School of Cinematic Arts and in the Department of American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. She is author of The Witch's Flight: The Cinematic, the Black Femme, and the Image of Common Sense. Josh Kun is an associate professor of communication and journalism at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism. He is the author of Audiotopia: Music, Race, and America.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents

Preface Sarah Banet-Weiser vii

Introduction Kara Keeling Josh Kun 1

Sound Technologies and Subjectivities

Splitting Sight and Sound: Thomas Dewing's A Reading, Gilded Age Women, and the Phonograph Asma Naeem 17

Intimacy Threats and Intersubjective Users: Telephone Training Films, 1927-1962 D. Travers Scott 43

"What, for me, constitutes life in a sound?": Electronic Sounds as Lively and Differentiated Individuals Tara Rodgers 65

Audible Citizenship and Audiomobility: Race, Technology, and CB Radio Art M. Blake 87

The Recording Studio on Stage: Liveness in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom Jessica E. Teague 111

Quiet Comfort: Noise, Otherness, and the Mobile Production of Personal Space Mack Hagood 129

Sounding Race, Ethnicity, and Gender

"An Indian in a White Man's Camp": Johnny Cash's Indian Country Music Dustin Tahmahkera 147

Abolitionism's Resonant Bodies: The Realization of African American Performance Alex W. Black 175

Marian Anderson and "Sonic Blackness" in American Opera Nina Sun Eidsheim 197

Soul Vibrations: Black Music and Black Freedom in Sound and Space Gayle Wald 229

Back Door Man: Howlin' Wolf and the Sound of Jim Crow Eric Lott 253

Touching Listening: The Aural Imaginary in the World Music Culture Industry Roshanak Kheshti 267

Sound, Citizenship, and the Public Sphere

The "War on Noise": Sound and Space in La Guardia's New York Lilian Radovac 289

Forced Listening: The Contested Use of Loudspeakers for Commercial and Political Messages in the Public Soundscape Ronda L. Sewald 317

Reproducing U.S. Citizenship in Blackboard Jungle: Race, Cold War Liberalism, and the Tape Recorder Jennifer Stoever-Ackerman 337

Sounds of Surveillance: U.S. Spanish-Language Radio Patrols La Migra Dolores Inés Casillas 363

The Political Agency of Musical Beauty Barry Shank 387

Contributors 413

Index 419

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