Summer Session: Presenters


Karin Bijsterveld

Karin_BijsterveldKarin Bijsterveld is historian and professor in the Department of Technology and Society Studies, Maastricht University. She coordinates several funded research projects at the crossroads of Science and Technology Studies and Sound Studies. One of these is Sonic Skills: Sound and Listening in Science, Technology and Medicine. Bijsterveld is author of Mechanical Sound: Technology, Culture, and Public Problems of Noise in the Twentieth Century (MIT Press, 2008), and co-editor of the Oxford Handbook of Sound Studies (Oxford UP 2012, with Trevor Pinch) and Sound Souvenirs: Audio Technologies, Memory and Cultural Practices (Amsterdam UP 2009, with José van Dijck). Recently, she edited Soundscapes of the Urban Past: Staged Sound as Mediated Cultural Heritage (Transcript 2013). An upcoming publication is Sound and Safe: A History of Listening Behind the Wheel (with Eefje Cleophas, Stefan Krebs and Gijs Mom), to be published by Oxford University Press.

Emily Thompson

Emily_ThompsonEmily Thompson is a historian of technology who studies late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century America. Her research explores the cultural history of sound, music, noise, and listening, and focuses on how these phenomena and activities intersect with technologies like the phonograph, motion pictures, and architecture.

Professor Thompson’s current research focuses upon the transformation of technical work during the transition from silent to sound motion pictures in the American film industry. Her book-in-progress, Sound Effects, will examine the working lives of sound engineers, editors, musicians, projectionists, and other technicians associated with the production and exhibition of films in the U.S.,1925-1933.

She has also written about the Pathé Studio fire of 1929, a deadly fire on a motion picture sound stage in Manhattan that led to criminal investigations against the Pathé studio executives that, in turn, played a role in exposing the political corruption that permeated the Tammany Hall government of City Hall and led to the resignation of New York City’s Mayor Jimmy Walker in 1932.

She is currently developing a website, “The Roaring ‘Twenties,” in collaboration with the USC-sponsored online journal Vectors.  This site will explore how the interactive multimedia capabilities of the web can be used to construct a historical representation of noise in New York City in the late 1920s.

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