Drawing on Eric Hobsbawm's thinking on the meaning and nature of social history, this essay explores how the field has influenced recent work on the history of the senses, particularly work on historical aurality. By reviewing work on sensory history, the essay argues that social history seems to have been important to historical work on sound, noise, hearing, listening, and olfaction especially. It points to how social history's emphasis on the depth, breadth, and braided nature of historical experience has helped inform writing on the senses and considers some of the methodological and conceptual questions and concerns arising from histories of the senses. The essay concludes by suggesting the probable importance of social and sensory history for historical writing generally.

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pp. 165-186
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