Cover

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Title Page

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Copyright Page

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Table of Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Introduction: Thinking Historically About Sound and Sense

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pp. 1-12

Two propositions. One: Some people can ignore sound. On Friday, 12 January 2007, at 7:51 a.m., a man dressed in jeans, a t-shirt, and a baseball cap began to play the violin beside a trash can outside the Metro station at L’Enfant Plaza in Washington, D.C. While he played, for forty-three minutes, nearly 1,100 people walked by. This was not just an ordinary ...

Part I: Affect and the Politics of Listening

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1. Distracted Listening: On Not Making Sound Choices in the 1930s

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pp. 15-46

Distracted listening is a constant, commonplace occurrence in our mass-mediated world. We are accustomed to having broadcast or recorded sound all around us, whenever we want, and to listening distractedly or closely at different times and places. I recently visited a deli in New York that had two radio stations playing—one with Christmas music (presumably ...

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2. "Her Voice a Bullet": Imaginary Propaganda and the Legendary Broadcasters of World War II

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pp. 47-68

‘‘Her Voice A Bullet Aimed at the Hearts of American Foxhole Soldiers’’— Paramount publicists coined this phrase to promote the 1946 film Tokyo Rose. The power of radio to sway wartime emotions was a major theme of the movie. The film opens with a group of American prisoners of war listening to Radio Tokyo. Most of the men think ...

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3. "Savage Dissonance": Gender, Voice, and Women's Radio Speech in Argentina, 1930-1945

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pp. 69-91

‘‘History,’’ writes communications scholar Kathleen Hall Jamieson, ‘‘has many themes. One of them is that women should be quiet.’’1 Across time and cultures, women’s voices have been contained, confined, and channeled in ways that parallel other constraints placed on women’s bodies. Voice and voice difference have reinforced and naturalized gender ...

Part II: Sonic Objects

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4. Collectors, Bootleggers, and the Value of Jazz, 1930-1952

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pp. 95-114

In the late 1920s a new breed of listener entered the scene of American popular culture—the jazz record collector, who appreciated jazz as an art form and sought to hoard the artifacts of its early evolution. Most of the early jazz recordings were produced in limited numbers by small or unstable companies. The records collectors loved best had been targeted ...

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5. High-Fidelity Sound as Spectacle and Sublime, 1950-1961

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pp. 115-138

‘‘Picture, if you will, a tour through the halls of a music school, past 100 practice rooms each with its occupant singing or playing at top volume, and you will have some idea of how the Audio Fair sounded last weekend,’’ wrote the New York Times of the third annual New York Audio Fair of 1951.1 Ten thousand ‘‘electronics experts, high-fidelity fans and home-style music lovers’’ descended on the Hotel New Yorker that fall, ...

Part III: Hearing Order

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6. Occupied Listeners: The Legacies of Interwar Radio for France During World War II

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pp. 141-158

On 18 June 1990, pedestrians approaching the Place de la Concorde in Paris witnessed an astonishing spectacle. Near the former location of the fearsome guillotine of the Reign of Terror and the dazzling electric light display of the 1881 Paris Exhibition stood an enormous radio. The mock replica of a 1940s receiver towered thirty-five meters into the air and ...

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7. An Audible Sense of Order: Race, Fear, and CB Radio on Los Angeles Freeways in the 1970s

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pp. 159-178

The 1977 documentary film CB Radio: A New Hue and Cry, produced with the assistance of retired Los Angeles police officer Lee Kirkwood, opens with a detailed costume drama set in a medieval town. A ship’s captain observes a thief stealing from the blind beggar who sits in the busy marketplace. Seeing the theft, the captain and other citizens give chase to ...

Part IV: Sound Commerce

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8. "The People's Orchestra": Jukeboxes as the Measure of Popular Musical Taste in the 1930s and 1940s

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pp. 181-198

At the depth of the Great Depression, the recording and phonograph industries in the United States were virtually moribund, victims of both the economic downturn and the phenomenal success of radio, which afforded listeners less expensive musical entertainment and superior sound quality. In 1927 some 104 million recordings and one million ...

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9. Sounds Local: The Competition for Space and Place in Early U.S. Radio

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pp. 199-220

In 1932 an entrepreneur applied to the Federal Radio Commission (FRC) for permission to build a new radio station in Jeannette, Pennsylvania, a town of 15,000 people about thirty miles from Pittsburgh (which then had a population of 670,000). He hoped to offer a more local alternative to the Pittsburgh stations that were ‘‘not altogether suitable advertising outlets ...

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10. The Sound of Print: Newspapers and the Public Promotion of Early Radio Broadcasting in the United States

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pp. 221-241

Daily life in the 1920s and 1930s was a bit louder than it had been previously, as the new invention of radio gave Americans the sound of music, news, sports, church services, and dramatic programming.1 ‘‘With but little equipment,’’ sociologists Robert and Helen Lynd marveled in 1929, ‘‘one can call the life of the rest of the world from the air.’’ Six years later, psychologists Hadley Cantril and Gordon Allport ...

Notes

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pp. 243-297

List of Contributors

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pp. 299-300

Index

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pp. 301-309

Acknowledgments

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p. 311