Sonic Turn: “Sound Studies” and the Other History

VIDEOGRAM 108 / TIM Master Class: Anna Kvíčalová
Online event

It is hard to imagine scientific research without the use of pictures, graphs, and diagrams; Western culture has been repeatedly characterised as visual since the invention of the printing press; we are likely to believe what we have seen "with our own eyes". But is there knowledge that we can only gain through specific listening techniques? Does hearing have a history of its own? Can we study sound before the era of its technological reproduction? In my talk, I will introduce “sound studies” as a field of interdisciplinary historical research and explain how and why to engage with the history of sound and hearing. I will show, for example, how the study of indigenous cultures in Papua New Guinea has contributed to a better understanding of the history of European science, explain what "historical hearing" and the cultural history of the senses are, and show what the study of hearing and acoustics reveals about the formation of modern science and culture at the intersection of natural, social and artistic disciplines. I will present the history of sound as an alternative history of modernity, using examples from the context of the European Reformation, 19th century physiology, acoustic ecology, and research of "voice prints".

Anna Kvíčalová is a historian of science, religion, and the senses; in her work she deals with the history of sound and hearing. She works as a research fellow at the Centre for Theoretical Study (Charles University and the Czech Academy of Sciences) where she is the leader of the research project The Second Sense: Sound, Hearing and Nature in Czech Modernity. She received her MA from the University of Amsterdam and a PhD from Freie Universität Berlin; between 2013-17 she worked as a research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin. She is the author of Listening and Knowledge in Reformation Europe (Palgrave, 2019) and other texts on sound, hearing and acoustics. She is also an Assistant Professor at the Department for the Study of Religion at Masaryk University, Brno.


The lecture will take place online through the ZOOM platform.
The lecture will be held in English.
Meeting ID: 941 1338 8164

The lecture is a part of the online course TIM Master Class taught within Theory of Interactive Media MUNI and also part of the series Videogram at FFA BUT under the auspices of Department of Audiovisual Technology. Further programme at