Carolyn Birdsall (University of Amsterdam)
For Future Reference: Sonic Heritage in Media Archival Comparison
This talk will propose a comparative history of media archival practice, which identifies and theorises crossover between print, image and sound media. How and why did sound collections offer an ideal model for early cinema preservation advocates? How were archival collections co-constitutive in media aesthetics and knowledge formation? What role did media materiality play in figuring archival collections and their legitimisation as historical documentation and in heritage discourse? Partly drawing on recent research about early German broadcasting, I will identify key instances for comparison: from the ‘archival turn’ (ca. 1900) and intermedial impulses of the 1920s through to archival politics of National Socialism and the ‘broken’ archives of the post-war era.
Carolyn Birdsall is Assistant Professor and MA Program Director at the Department of Media Studies, University of Amsterdam. She has published widely in the fields of media and cultural history. Her books are Nazi Soundscapes: Sound, Technology and Urban Space in Germany, 1933–1945 (2012); and two co-edited volumes Sonic Mediations: Body, Sound, Technology (2008) and Inside Knowledge: (Un)doing Ways of Knowing in the Humanities (2009).