Absent Presences in the Colonial Archive
Dealing with the Berlin Sound Archive's Acoustic Legacies
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The colonial past through objects of sound
The Berlin Sound Archive (Lautarchiv) consists of an extensive collection of sound recordings, compiled for scientific purposes in the first half of the 20th century. Recorded on shellac are stories and songs, personal testimonies and poems, glossaries and numbers. This book engages with the archive by consistently focusing on recordings produced under colonial conditions.
With a firm commitment to postcolonial scholarship, Absent Presences in the Colonial Archive is a historical ethnography of a metropolitan institution that participated in the production and preservation of colonial structures of power and knowledge. The book examines sound objects and listening practices that render the coloniality of knowledge fragile and inconsistent, revealing the absent presences of colonial subjects who are given little or no place in established national narratives and collective memories.
Ebook available in Open Access.
This publication is GPRC-labeled (Guaranteed Peer-Reviewed Content).
Dealing with the colonial archive entails acknowledging the inability to know everything, accounting for the archive’s limited and incomplete condition. Dealing with the colonial archive is not merely about stories of the past but also about the history of the present, and how it is interrupted by the past. — Irene Hilden, in conversation with New
Format: Monograph - free ebook - PDF
Publication: October 05, 2022
Noel Lobley, University of Virginia