Outside of music, the importance of sound and listening have been greatly overlooked in Latin American history. Visual media has dominated cultural studies, affording an incomplete record of the modern era. This edited volume presents an original analysis of the role of sound in Latin American and Caribbean societies, from the late nineteenth century to the present. The contributors examine the importance of sound in the purveyance of power, gender roles, race, community, religion, and populism. They also demonstrate how sound is essential to the formation of citizenship and nationalism.
Sonic media, and radio in particular, have become primary tools for contesting political issues. In that vein, the contributors view the control of radio transmission and those who manipulate its content for political gain. Conversely, they show how, in neoliberal climates, radio programs have exposed corruption and provided a voice for activism.
The essays address sonic production in a variety of media: radio; Internet; digital recordings; phonographs; speeches; carnival performances; fireworks festivals, and the reinterpretation of sound in literature. They examine the bodily experience of sound, and its importance to memory coding and identity formation.
This volume looks to sonic media as an essential vehicle for transmitting ideologies, imagined communities, and culture. As the contributors discern, modern technology has made sound ubiquitous, and its study is therefore crucial to understanding the flow of information and influence in Latin America and globally.
About the Author
Alejandra Bronfman is associate professor of history at the University of British Columbia. She is the author of On the Move: The Caribbean Since 1989, and Measures of Equality: Social Science, Citizenship, and Race in Cuba, 1902-1940.
Andrew Grant Wood is Stanley Rutland Professor of American History at the University of Tulsa. He is the author of Revolution in the Street: Women, Workers and Urban Protest in Veracruz, 1870-1927; and editor of On The Border: Society and Culture Between the United States and Mexico? and The Borderlands: An Encyclopedia of Culture and Politics on the U.S. Mexico Divide.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Media, Sound, and Culture Alejandra Bronfman Andrew Grant Wood ix
Part I Embodied Sounds and the Sounds of Memory
1 Recovering Voices: The Popular Music Ear in Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century Brazil Fernando de Sousa Rocha 3
2 Radio Transvestism and the Gendered SoundScape in Buenos Aires, 1930S-1940S Christine Ehrick 18
Part The Media of Politics
3 How to Do Things with Waves: United States Radio and Latin America in the Times of the Good Neighbor Gisela Cramer 37
4 Weapons of the Geek: Romantic Narratives, Sonic Technologies, and Tinkerers in 1930s Santiago, Cuba Alejandra Bronfman 55
5 Music, Media Spectacle, and the Idea of Democracy: The Case of DJ Kermit's "Gober" Alejandro L. Madrid 71
Part III The Sonics of Public Spaces
6 Alba: Musical Temporality in the Carnival of Oruro, Bolivia Gonzalo Araoz 87
7 Such a Noise! Fireworks and the Soundscapes of Two Veracruz Festival Andrew Grant Wood 103
Postscript Sound Representation: Nation, Translation, Memory Michele Hilmes 122