Research and Writing
My dissertation, “Vox Machinae: Phonographs and the Birth of Sonic Modernity, 1870-1930,” examines the intertwined histories of capitalism, technology, and the senses in the early phonograph industry. It argues that consumers (with much encouragement from the phonograph industry) abandoned the interpretive paradigm of “the talking machine” in favor of an understanding of the phonograph as channeling the actual voices, personalities and even souls of recording stars. This shift in understanding was, in turn, crucial for the subsequent history of American consumerism and twentieth century popular culture, providing an anchor-point for fully consumption-based understandings of self and other.
Created in Carto, this map documents the locations of licensed Victor Talking Machine Company dealers in Manhattan and Brooklyn in 1917. It is part of an ongoing exploration of the material culture of the early phonograph industry.