Audio Composition in the Humanities
Audio Composition in the Humanities
Audio Composition in the Humanities
Audio Composition in the Humanities

Audio Composition in the Humanities

Various Media (2007-Present)

ProfHacker, On the Boards and KEXP

For several years, I have advocated for increasing the presence of audio composition in humanities pedagogy and scholarly communications. Below are several examples of that advocacy, in writing and in practice.

Example Work

“Integrating Digital Audio Composition into Humanities Courses” (screen shot left)

for ProfHacker (George H. Williams, Jason B. Jones, and Julie Meloni, eds.) in The Chronicle of Higher Education

How Text Lost Its Source (screen shot second left)

my multimodal dissertation, which includes audio (composed by me and others) in tandem with text, video, and images

IAS 205: “Sound Reproduction Studies”

a course (screen shot third left) I taught in 2010 at the University of Washington Bothell as part of the Project for Interdisciplinary Pedagogy

English 121: “Sonic Culture and Media Activism”

a course I taught in 2007 and 2008 at the University of Washington

KEXP Documentaries

where I conducted research and wrote sample material for several audio documentaries, including the ten-part series “Civil Rights Songs” and “Blues for Hard Times”

Hacking the Academy (Tom Scheinfeldt and Dan Cohen, editors)

to which I submitted the ProfHacker article referenced above

“Invisible Technologies?: Tapping into Some Cultural Histories of Sound”

an audio essay I wrote and produced for the Seattle performing arts center, On the Boards, and Nature Theater of Oklahoma’s No Dice (actors pictured bottom left)

What I Have Learned

In the classroom, I have learned that most students do not enter higher education with the language or competencies to critically engage sound and compose audio. However, putting listening into conversation with seeing only enriches both modalities. More generally, I have also found that students are eager to discuss sound, perhaps because it is common in their everyday lives and yet rarely an object of inquiry in the humanities.

In terms of my scholarship, composing audio (as a form of evidence and a mode of argumentation) has expanded my vocabulary for approaching media studies and the history of attention. As my dissertation argues, audio (and not just print) should be a vehicle for better understanding the history of electronic text.