Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Mississippi State University
Website URL
psychoacoustics, science, technology, sound studies, environment, music
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

I grew up in California and studied Astrophysics as an undergraduate at Pomona College. She received her MA and PhD in History from the University of California at Los Angeles. I then joined the faculty at Mississippi State University in 2008. I am an Associate Professor of History, specializing in the history of science and modern German history, am the head of the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine field and a core faculty member of the Center for the History of Agriculture, Science, and the Environment in the South (CHASES). My research is at the intersection of history of science, environmental history, and sensory history. I am particularly interested in the role of listening in the practice of modern science and, related, understandings of the environment. My first monograph, The Psychophysical Ear: Musical Experiments, Experimental Sounds, 1840-1910 (MIT Press, 2012), explores the relationship between psychophysical studies of sound sensation and music culture.  I have published articles in Annals of Science, Journal for the History of the Behavioral Sciences, and Historische Anthropologie, several chapters in edited collections, and co-edited the 2013 Osiris volume on music, sound, and the laboratory. I have received awards and fellowships from the European Society for the History of the Human Sciences, the Smithsonian Institute, the National Science Foundation, the Fulbright Foundation, and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. I am currently working on two monograph-length research projects. The first, Sonifying Space: A History of the Science of Background Music, 1910-2010, examines the co-development of new listening forms and background music technology. The second project, Listening to Nature: Standardized Soundscapes and Imagined Ecologies, 1900-2000 is a comparative study of how field scientists listen to the environment. Which means I currently listen to a lot of Muzak and talk to a lot of duck hunters.

Recent Publications

“Testing the Underwater Ear: Hearing, Standardizing, and Classifying Marine Sounds during the Cold War,” co-authored with Lino Camprubí, in Alexandra Hui, Mara Mills, and Viktoria Tkacyzk, eds., Testing Hearing: Music and Science. Under review with the University of Chicago Press. 

“The Naturalization of Timbre: Two Case Studies,” in Emily Dolan and Alexander Rehding, eds., Oxford Handbook of Timbre (Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2018).

“Imagining Ecologies through Sound: a historic-ecological approach to the soundscape of the Mississippi Flyway.” MUSICultures, special issue on Ecologies (forthcoming).

“First Re-Creations: Phonographs and New Cultures of Listening at the Beginning of the Twentieth Century,” in Christian Thorau and Hansjakob Ziemer, eds., The Handbook of Music Listening in the 19th and 20th Centuries (Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2018).

“Walter Bingham und die Universalisierung des individuellen Hörers,” Netzwerk Hör-Wissen im Wandel (Hrsg.), Koordiniert von Daniel Morat, Wissensgeschichte des Hörens in der Moderne (Walter de Gruyter GmbH, 2017).

“The Naturalization of Built Environments: Two Case Studies,” Ecomusicology Review, 4 (2016).

“Aural Rights and Early Environmental Ethics: Negotiating the Post-War Soundscape,” in Aaron Allen and Kevin Dawes, eds., Current Directions in Ecomusicology: A Field Guide (Routledge, 2016).

“‘Muzak-While-You-Work’: Programming Music for Industry, 1919-1948,” Historische Anthropologie, 22 (2014):364-383.

“From the Piano Pestilence to the Phonograph Solo: Four Case Studies of Musical Expertise in the Laboratory and on the City Street,” in Daniel Morat, ed., Sounds of Modern History: Auditory Cultures in 19th and 20th Century Europe (Berghahn Books, 2014).

“Origin Stories of listening, melody, and survival at the end of the nineteenth century,” in James Kennaway, ed., Music and the Nerves, 1660-1945 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014). 

“Lost: Thomas Edison’s Mood Music Found: New Ways of Listening,” Endeavour, 38 (2014):139-142.

“Changeable Ears: Ernst Mach’s and Max Planck’s studies of accommodation in hearing,” in Alexandra Hui, Julia Kursell, and Myles Jackson, eds., Music, Sound, and the Laboratory during the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Osiris, 28 (2013):119-145. 

Media Coverage
Country Focus
Expertise by Geography
Germany, United States
Expertise by Chronology
7, 8
Expertise by Topic
Environment, Material Culture, Science, Technology