Photographer: onbekend

dr. C.J. (Carolyn) Birdsall

  • Faculty of Humanities
    Capaciteitsgroep Media & Cultuur
  • Visiting address
    BG 1
    Turfdraagsterpad 9  Amsterdam
    Room number: 1.01E
  • Postal address:
    Turfdraagsterpad  9
    1012 XT  Amsterdam
    T: 0205252981
    T: 0205252980


Carolyn Birdsall studied History and Media/Communications at the University of New South Wales (Sydney), and since 2009, she is Assistant Professor of Television and Cross-Media Culture. Birdsall's doctoral research examined the cultural significance of sound technologies in everyday life and urban environments during National Socialism in Germany. The resulting monograph, Nazi Soundscapes, appeared with Amsterdam University Press in 2012 and was the recipient of the ASCA Book Award 2013. 

In her current research, Birdsall investigates the early history of sound archiving in European broadcasting, with a related interest in concepts of "documentary sound" in radio and sound film. Part of this new work has appeared in: "Sound in Media Studies: Archiving and the Construction of Sonic Heritage," in Sound as Popular Culture (MIT Press, 2016). Birdsall also recently became director of the ASCA Cities Project.

Recent news / upcoming events

News: New appointment to the NPO Fonds - Radio committee (starting 1 January 2017) 
Upcoming: "'Doing' Memory Research Differently" panel co-organiser (AAG Boston, 8 April 2017)
Upcoming: Invited talk - "Sound Archiving and the Heritage of War" (University of Oxford, 4 May 2017)
Upcoming: International Conference "Urban World-Making" co-organiser (Amsterdam, 1-2 June 2017)
Publication: "Listening to the Mind: Tracing the Auditory History of Mental Illness in Archives and Exhibitions," co-authored article in The Public Historian 



> Monographs / Edited Volumes

Nazi Soundscapes: Sound, Technology and Urban Space in Germany, 1933-1945. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2012.

Recipient of the ASCA Book Award 2013

Rethinking Theories of Television Sound. Special Issue of Journal of Sonic Studies 3 (2012) [Co-edited with Anthony Enns].
Inside Knowledge: (Un)doing Ways of Knowing in the Humanities. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2009 [Co-edited with Maria Boletsi, Pieter Verstraete and Itay Sapir].
Sonic Mediations: Body, Sound, Technology. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2008 [Co-edited with Anthony Enns].


> Chapters / Articles (selection since 2013)

“Sound and Media Studies: Archiving and the Construction of Sonic Heritage” in Sound as Popular Culture, edited by Jens Gerrit Papenburg and Holger Schulze. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2016. 133-148.
“Listening to the Mind: Tracing the Auditory History of Mental Illness in Archives and Exhibitions” (with Manon Parry and Viktoria Tkaczyk).  The Public Historian 37.4 (2015): 47-72.
“Can We Invent a Field Called Radio Preservation Studies?” in FLOW: Online Journal of Media and TV Studies, 2015.
“Resounding City Films: Vertov, Ruttmann and Early Experiments with Documentary Sound Aesthetics” in  Music and Sound in Documentary Film, edited by Holly Rogers. New York: Routledge, 2015. 21-41.
"Sound Aesthetics and the Global Imagination in German Media Culture around 1930" in  Sounds of Modern History: Auditory Cultures in 19th and 20th Century Europe, edited by Daniel Morat. New York: Berghahn, 2014. 256-277.
"Sound" in OUP Encyclopedia of Aesthetics, edited by Michael Kelly. New York: Oxford UP, 2014. 23-27.
"Forum: The Senses" (with Jan-Frieder Missfelder, Daniel Morat and Corine Schleif). German History 32.2 (2014): 256-273.
"Sonic Artefacts: Reality Codes of Urbanity in Early German Radio Documentary" in Soundscapes of the Urban Past: Staged Sound as Mediated Cultural Heritage, edited by Karin Bijsterveld. Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag, 2013. 129-168.
"(In)audible Frequencies: Sounding out the Contemporary Branded City" in Paris-Amsterdam Underground: Essays on Cultural Resistance, Subversion,and Diversion, edited by Christoph Lindner & Andrew Hussey. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2013. 115-131.
"Die Orchestrierung urbaner Akustik: dokumentarische Form, akustische Medien und die moderne Stadt" in  Ton: Texte zur Akustik im Dokumentarfilm, edited by Volko Kamensky & Julian Rohrhuber. Berlin: Vorwerk 8, 2013. 76-97.
"Of Sound Mind: Mental Distress and Sound in Twentieth-Century Media Culture" (with Senta Siewert). Special Issue: Madness and Media. Tijdschrift voor Mediageschiedenis 16.1 (2013).

> Invited Talks and Keynotes (selection since 2013)

Keynote: conference Urban Soundscape of 1945, University of Wroclaw, 18 Nov. 2016, "Bordered Sounds: The Archival Traces of Radio in Silesia" 
Invited talk: Huizinga Institute: Contested Heritage and the Politics of Commemoration, 30 Jul. 2016, "Media Archives as Conflict Heritage"
Invited talk: Kracauer Lectures in Film and Media Theory, Goethe-University Frankfurt, 3 Nov. 2015, "For Future Reference: Sonic Heritage in Media Archival Comparison"
Invited talk: Universität Bremen, 19 Oct. 2015, "Inventing Zeitgeschichte: Evidence, Documentation and Media Archives (1930-1970)"
Keynote: European Sound Studies Association (ESSA) conference: Mapping the Field, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, 29 Jun. 2014, “Archives of Sound: Broadening the Perspective”
Invited talk: KlangDenken lecture series, Humboldt Universität, Berlin, 10 Jun. 2014, “‘Archival Impulses’ in German Radio: Collecting, Ordering and Reusing Sound, 1930-1960"
Invited talk: Weserburg Research Centre, Bremen, 5-7 Jun. 2014, “Radio Art, Technology, and the Sound Archive”
Invited talk: Colloquium zur Zeitgeschichte, Friedrich-Meinecke-Institut, Freie Universität Berlin, 15 May 2014, “Sound Archiving, German Broadcasting and Memory Culture (1930-1960)”
Invited talk: University of Beira Interior, Portugal, 1 Mar. 2013, “Locating Radio: Cultural Geographies of Radio Consumption”
Keynote: The Spatial and Sensorial Appropriation of Technology (summer school), TU Darmstadt-Riezlern, 24 Aug. 2012, “Hearing in History: The Radio Documentary”

> Conference Presentations (selection since 2013)

The Radio Conference 2016: Transational Radio Encounters, University of Utrecht, 5-8 Jul. 2016, "Agency in the Archive? Radio Archiving, Gendered Work and Transnational Networks"
Archives of/for the Future, NECS annual conference, University of Lodz, 18-21 Jun. 2015, "Sounds that Work: Production Films, Sound Archiving and Audio History"
SCMS annual conference, Montreal, 25-29 Mar. 2015, workshop on "Sound, Technology, and Auditory Knowledge"
WREN symposium, Bournemouth University, Bournemouth, 14-15 Nov. 2014, "Heroes of Heritage? Women's Work in Mid-Century Broadcasting" 
Public History in a Digital World, IFPH conference, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, 23-25 Oct. 2014, "Accessing Found Sounds: Private Sound Collections in Recent Documentary"
Digital Archives, Audiovisual Media and Cultural Memory, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, 14-15 Nov. 2013, "Archiving Ephemera: Comparative Perspectives on Early Radio Archives"
The Radio Conference, University of Bedfordshire, Luton, 9-12 Jul. 2013, co-organised panel "Material Histories of Radio: From Networks to Receivers" (presentation: "Sonic Heritage: Radio Archiving and Production Practice in Interwar Germany")
Sound Archives and Auditory Memory from the Late-Nineteenth Century to the Present, University of Amsterdam, 18 Feb. 2013, "Post-Colonial Echoes: Radio Archives in Interwar Germany"
The Power of Satire, University of Utrecht, 17-18 Jan. 2013, "Beyond Caricature: Carnival Humour and Satire in Interwar Germany."

> Conference / Workshop Organisation (since 2012)

Co-organiser, international workshop: Music, Voice and Orality in Performance History, 12 June 2015, Amsterdam Centre for Heritage and Identity, Amsterdam
Co-organiser, Sound Signatures - summer and winter schools Part I: “Space, Objects and Embodied Practices,” 13-17 January 2014, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam; Part II: “Epistemologies and the Order of Sound,” 18-22 August 2014, NYU Center / Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin
Co-organiser, international workshop: Auditory Memory and Sound Archives from the Late-Nineteenth Century to the Present, Amsterdam, 18 February 2013
Co-organiser, international conference: Media Homes: Material Culture in Twentieth-Century Domestic Life, Wassenaar, 29 June 2012                              


Department of Media Studies, UvA

Due to a research grant, I will return to teaching on 1 November 2016. For the academic year 2016-17, I will teach the BA elective Sound Cultures and Media Culture in Transformation, along with two MA courses: Visualising the Street (elective) and Research Practices in Media Studies (RMA Media Studies - Core Course 2).

Elective course Amsterdam & Creative Urbanism, 2015-16 
Core course Access & Reuse (MA Preservation and Presentation of the Moving Image), 2015-16 
Elective course Curating the Moving Image, 2014-15 - see  EYE programme /  documentation
RMA tutorial Sound Media, Sound Aesthetics: 2010-11, 2012-13
Research seminar Tuning In: Sound in Contemporary Television Practice: 2009-2010, 2010-2011, 2011-12

Elective course Sound Cultures (with Julia Kursell): 2015-16
Core module Methoden voor Media-analyse (coordination, lectures): 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16
Core module Televisieanalyse (coordination, lectures and tutorials): 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15
Elective course Visual Culture, History and Modernity in Twentieth-Century Germany  (German minor program, with Natalie Scholz): 2012-13
Elective course Sound Cultures (with Viktoria Tkaczyk): 2012-13, 2013-14
Core module Media, Culture and Identity (coordination, lectures and tutorials): 2009-2010, 2010-2011, 2011-2012
Core module Analyse en Methode TV en Populaire Cultuur (coordination,lectures and tutorials): 2009-2010, 2010-2011, 2011-2012
Core module Hedendaagse Mediacultuur: werkgroep televisie (tutorials): 2009-10
BA-Thesis module Sound in Non-Fiction Film and Television: 2006-2007

Department of Theatre Studies, UvA
BA work group Sound and Aurality in Theatre (with Pieter Verstraete): 2006-2007
BA work group Audiotheatre and Aurality in Music Theatre (with Pieter Verstraete): 2005-2006

Guest lectures (selection)

Masterclass, PhD summer institute [sic!], Northwestern University/University of Cologne, 30. Aug. 2016, "Signature Sounds"
Masterclass, Goethe University Frankfurt, 2 Nov. 2015, "Sonic Heritage and the Politics of Archiving", 
MA elective "Music and Film," MA Musicology, UvA, 26. Nov 2013, "Sound and Music in the New German Cinema"
MA Artistic Research, Royal Academy of Arts, The Hague, 1-22 Nov. 2011. Four lectures / workshops
MA Interior Architecture, Sandberg Institute, Amsterdam, 30 May 2011, "Aural Architecture"
MA Artistic Research, Royal Academy of Arts, The Hague, 16 May 2011, "Sound, Technology and Urban Space"
BA elective "Emotions across Media," BA Media Studies, UvA, 1 Apr. 2011, "Sound between Affect and Emotion"


  • Birdsall, C. J. (2016). Sound Memory: A Critical Concept for Researching Memories of Conflict and War. In D. Drozdzewski, S. De Nardi, & E. Waterton (Eds.), Memory, Place and Identity: Commemoration and Remembrance of War and Conflict (pp. 111-129). London: Routledge. [details] [PDF]
  • Birdsall, C. (2016). Sound and Media Studies: Archiving and the Construction of Sonic Heritage. In J. G. Papenburg, & H. Schulze (Eds.), Sound as Popular Culture: A Research Companion (pp. 133-148). Cambridge, MA: The MIT press. [details] [PDF]


  • Birdsall, C. (2015). Resounding city films: Vertov, Ruttmann and early experiments with documentary sound aesthetics. In H. Rogers (Ed.), Music and sound in documentary film (pp. 20-40). (Routledge Music and screen media series). New York: Routledge. [details] [PDF]
  • Birdsall, C., Parry, M., & Tkaczyk, V. (2015). Listening to the Mind: Tracing the Auditory History of Mental Illness in Archives and Exhibitions. The Public Historian, 37(4), 47-72. DOI: 10.1525/tph.2015.37.4.47 [details] [PDF]


  • Birdsall, C. (2014). Sound Aesthetics and the Global Imagination in German Media Culture around 1930. In D. Morat (Ed.), Sounds of modern history: auditory cultures in 19th- and 20th-century Europe (pp. 256-277). New York: Berghahn. [details] [PDF]
  • Birdsall, C. (2014). Sound. In M. Kelly (Ed.), Encyclopedia of aesthetics. - 2nd ed. - Vol. 6 (pp. 23-27). Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press. [details] [PDF]


  • Birdsall, C. (2013). (In)audible frequencies: sounding out the contemporary branded city. In C. Lindner, & A. Hussey (Eds.), Paris-Amsterdam underground: essays on cultural resistance, subversion, and diversion (pp. 115-131). (Cities and cultures). Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press. [details] [PDF]
  • Birdsall, C. (2013). Sonic artefacts: reality codes of urbanity in early German radio documentary. In K. Bijsterveld (Ed.), Soundscapes of the urban past: staged sound as mediated cultural heritage (pp. 129-168). (Sound studies). Bielefeld: Transcript. [details] [PDF]
  • Birdsall, C., & Siewert, S. (2013). Of Sound Mind: Mental Distress and Sound in Twentieth-Century Media Culture. Tijdschrift voor Mediageschiedenis, 16(1), 27-45. [details] [PDF]


  • Birdsall, C. (2012). Nazi soundscapes: sound, technology and urban space in Germany, 1933-1945. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press. [details]
  • Birdsall, C., & Enns, A. (2012). Rethinking theories of television sound: editorial. Journal of Sonic Studies, 3, 1. [details] [PDF]


  • Birdsall, C. (2011). Klanglandschaften und Ratinger Alltagsgeschichte: Zuhören, Erinnern und städtischer Raum. Ratinger Forum : Beiträge zur Stadt- und Regionalgeschichte, 12, 117-141. [details]


  • Birdsall, C. (2009). Earwitnessing: sound memories of the Nazi period. In K. Bijsterveld, & J. van Dijck (Eds.), Sound souvenirs: audio technologies, memory and cultural practices (pp. 169-181). (Transformations in art and culture). Amsterdam University Press: Amsterdam. [details] [PDF]


  • Birdsall, C. (2007). 'Affirmative resonances' in the city? Sound, imagination and urban space in early 1930s Germany. In S. Mieszkowski, J. Smith, & M. de Valck (Eds.), Sonic interventions (pp. 57-86). (Thamyris intersecting: place, sex, and race; No. 18). Amsterdam [etc.]: Rodopi. [details]


  • Birdsall, C. (2015). Can We Invent a Field Called "Radio Preservation Studies"? FlowTV, 21[details]
  • Birdsall, C. (2015). Die urbanen Soundscapes des Luftkriegs: Forschungsperspektiven aus Sound Studies, Geschichts- und Medienwissenschaft. Geschichte in Wissenschaft und Unterricht, 66(11/12), 681-702. [details] [PDF]


  • Birdsall, C. J. (Author). (2014). MOMA online exhibition "Design and Violence" (Museum of Modern Art, New York): Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD Corporation)[details]
  • Birdsall, C., Missfelder, J-F., Morat, D., & Schleif, C. (2014). Forum: The Senses. German History, 32(2), 256-273. DOI: 10.1093/gerhis/ghu034 [details] [PDF]


  • Birdsall, C. (2013). Die Orchestrierung urbaner Akustik: dokumentarische Form, akustische Medien und die moderne Stadt. In V. Kamensky, & J. Rohrhuber (Eds.), Ton: Texte zur Akustik im Dokumentarfilm (pp. 74-97). (Texte zum Dokumentarfilm; No. 15). Berlin: Vorwerk 8. [details] [PDF]


  • Birdsall, C., Boletsi, M., Sapir, I., & Verstraete, P. (2009). Introduction. In C. Birdsall, M. Boletsi, I. Sapir, & P. Verstraete (Eds.), Inside knowledge: (un)doing ways of knowing in the humanities (pp. 1-13). Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars. [details] [PDF]


  • Birdsall, C. (2008). Sound bites! Dissonant audiovisions as historiophony in Hitler's Hit Parade. In C. Birdsall, & A. Enns (Eds.), Sonic mediations: body, sound, technology (pp. 259-275). Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars. [details]
  • Birdsall, C., & Enns, A. (2008). Introduction. In C. Birdsall, & A. Enns (Eds.), Sonic mediations: body, sound, technology (pp. 1-9). Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars. [details] [PDF]


  • Birdsall, C. (2007). All of Germany listens to the Führer: radio's acoustic space and 'imagined listening community' in Nazi Germany. In R. Bandt, M. Duffy, & D. MacKinnon (Eds.), Hearing places: sound, place, time and culture (pp. 192-201 + cd-tracks 17, 18). Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. [details]


  • Birdsall, C. (2013). [Review of: M. Forman (2012) One night on TV is worth weeks at the Paramount: popular music on early television]. Screen, 54(3), 417-420. DOI: 10.1093/screen/hjt028 [details] [PDF]


  • Birdsall, C. (2012). Soundscapes und Klangmaschinen: neue Literatur zu Klang, Medien und Tontechnologie [Review of: Gethmann (2010) Klangmaschinen zwischen Experiment und Medientechnik; D. Helms, T. Phleps (2007) Sound and the City: populäre Musik im urbanen Kontext; M. Maeder (2007) Milieux sonores = Klangliche Milieus: Klang, Raum und Virtualität]. Zeitschrift für Medienwissenschaft, 6, 252-256. DOI: 10.4472/9783037343157 [details] [PDF]

Book editor

  • Birdsall, C., & Enns, A. (2008). Sonic mediations: body, sound, technology. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars. [details]
This list of publications is extracted from the UvA-Current Research Information System. Questions? Ask the library or the Pure staff of your faculty / institute. Log in to Pure to edit your publications.
  • Mediafonds ( Dutch Cultural Media Fund)

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