Sound as Popular Culture

Sound as Popular Culture:

Public Lectures – PhD Colloquium – Panel Discussion


A symposion of the research group Sound & Senses
at the University of Copenhagen together with the international research network Sound in Media Culture, supported by MIT-Press



University of Copenhagen
Department of Arts & Cultural Studies
Auditorium 22.0.11
Karen Blixensvej 1
2300 Copenhagen


Course room 24.0.07 (morning 9-12: building 24, ground floor, room nr. 7) & Auditorium 22.0.11 (afternoon 13-18: building 22, ground floor, room nr. 11)


No fee (funded by the research group Sound & Senses and the international research network Sound in Media Culture)


Sound is a subject through which popular culture can be analyzed in an innovative way. From an infant’s gurgles over a baby monitor to the roar of the crowd in a stadium to the sub-bass frequencies produced by sound systems in the disco era, sound—not necessarily aestheticized as music—is inextricably part of the many domains of popular culture.

Expanding this view taken by many scholars of cultural studies, the contributors to this conference and authors of the new MIT-Press-volume “Sound as Popular Culture” (2016) consider cultural practices concerning sound not merely as semiotic or signifying processes but as material, physical, perceptual, and sensory processes that integrate a multitude of cultural traditions and forms of knowledge. Echoes from the past, resonances of the present, and the contradictions and discontinuities that suggest the future.

This one day-symposion explores these aspects in an open PhD-colloquium with international researchers, in a public lecture, and in a public discussion on the field of Sound Studies with authors from MIT-Press and international colleagues.

This symposion is the final conference of the international research network “Sound in Media Culture” in cooperation with the research group “Sound & Senses” at the University of Copenhagen and the “Sound Studies Lab” at the University of Copenhagen.


Send a mail to: Rasmus Holmboe


Programme (details tbc)

09:00 Course room 24.0.07
PhD Colloquium with young researchers from Copenhagen and Berlin together with contributors to the collected volume Sound as Popular Culture

Confirmed contributors: Susanne Binas-Preisendörfer (Oldenburg, DE), Jochen Bonz (Innsbruck, AT), Marta Garcia Quiñones (Barcelona, ESP), Franco Fabbri (Turino, IT), Anahid Kassabian (Liverpool, UK), Morten Michelsen (Copenhagen, DK), Bodo Mrozek (Berlin, DE), Jens Gerrit Papenburg (Berlin, DE), Holger Schulze (Copenhagen, DK), Toby Seay (Philadelphia, US)

Young researchers: Max Alt (M.A., Berlin, DE), Sandra Boss (PhD, Aarhus, DK), Jacob Eriksen (MA, Berlin, DE), José Galvez (M.A., Berlin, DE), Morten Grimstrup (M.A., Copenhagen, DK), Maximilian Haberer (PhD, Düsseldorf, DE), Rasmus Holmboe (PhD, Copenhagen, DK), Stina Hasse Jørgensen (PhD, Copenhagen, DK), Steffen Just (PhD, Berlin, DE), Moritz Pisk (Linz, AT), Ludmilla Rasgulina (PhD, Moscow, RUS), Katrine Wallevik (PhD, Copenhagen, DK)

12:30 Lunch Break

13:00 Auditorium 22.0.11
Public Keynote Lecture:

Morten Michelsen:

Since historian Benedict Anderson coined the term ”imagined communities” many years ago it has become an integral part of the terminology in several disciplines – and for good reasons. I would argue that it makes sense in sound studies as well, as sound have the same mediating properties as other communication media. I would like to focus on sound in radio before television set in and discuss how radio contributed to the formation of imagined communities through sound, talk, music (and silence). This happened as radio’s sounds became part of everyday life and pointed towards ideals for organizing your private life and towards how to cope with a still growing world. In these processes radio afforded “membership” of several different kinds of communities, often delimited according to gender, age, ethnicity, political persuasion, or just plain interest, and it supported and challenged existing boundaries through sound.

15:00 Coffee Break

16:00 Auditorium 22.0.11
New Directions in Sound Studies:
A Public Discussion with MIT-Press-authors

New journals and new programmes are more and more focused on the field called Sound Studies at established and international publishing houses (e.g. MIT-Press, Bloomsbury, Routledge). This general tendency might be contradicted by the very specific issues at national research publishing houses and the different national cultures concerning research funding. In this discussion we like to hear from experienced and younger researchers:
– What are the research areas or methods you personally find promising in the near future?
– What publication projects are direly needed in the field of sound studies (yet still missing)?
– How do you evaluate the activities of various publishers these days? And:
– What are the major problems in proposing a sound studies-monograph to a national (or international) publishing house?

Confirmed contributors: Susanne Binas-Preisendörfer (Oldenburg, DE), Jochen Bonz (Innsbruck, AT), Marta Garcia Quiñones (Barcelona, ESP), Franco Fabbri (Turino, IT), Anahid Kassabian (Liverpool, UK), Morten Michelsen (Copenhagen, DK), Bodo Mrozek (Berlin, DE), Jens Gerrit Papenburg (Berlin, DE), Holger Schulze (Copenhagen, DK) Toby Seay (Philadelphia, US)