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dr. C.J. (Carolyn) Birdsall

Faculty of Humanities
Capaciteitsgroep Media & Cultuur
Photographer: onbekend

Visiting address
  • Turfdraagsterpad 9
  • Room number:1.01E
Postal address
  • Postbus 94550
    1090 GN Amsterdam
  • Profile


    Carolyn Birdsall is Associate Professor of Media Studies, University of Amsterdam. Birdsall studied at the University of New South Wales (History and Media/Communications), before completing a doctorate at the University of Amsterdam. Her monograph, Nazi Soundscapes (AUP, 2012) was the recipient of the ASCA Book Award 2013.  Birdsall is director of the ASCA Cities Project, and she currently leads the NWO-funded project TRACE (Tracking Radio Archival Collections in Europe, 1930-1960), which examines how European radio recordings were archived, circulated and re-used under conditions of war, occupation and reconstruction.

    Recent news / upcoming events

    Upcoming: Panels on radio/AV archives, FIAT/IFTA-IASA joint conference, Dublin (27-28 Oct. 2020)
    Upcoming: Keynote lecture, Retuning the Screen, Gorizia (2 Nov. 2020)
    Upcoming: Panel on gendered media labour, Media Industries conference (Apr. 2020, postponed to 2021)
    Upcoming: Talk, Media Building: Architecture, Communications & the Built Environment (Jul. 2020, postponed to 2021)
    Upcoming: Panel Radio and the Politics of the Archive (Oct. 2020, postponed to 2021)
    New: German-language special issue on 'object histories of radio': article on radio archival praxis (with Corinna Kaiser)
    New: "Listening to the Archive: Sound Data in the Humanites and Science" (ed. with Viktoria Tkaczyk)
    New: Doing Memory Research: New Methods and Approaches (ed. with Danielle Drozdzewski)
    New: "Making Worlds in Urban Cultural Studies" (ed. with Simone Kalkman)
    New: "Worlding the Archive," chapter in Transnationalizing Radio Research (open access)
    New: "Capturing Commemoration: Using Mobile Recordings within Memory Research," co-authored article with Danielle Drozdzewski in Mobile Media & Communication (open access)

  • Research


    > 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.

    Nazi Soundscapes - Open Access (free download)

    Listening to the Archive: Sound Data in the Humanities and Sciences. Special Issue of Technology and Culture 60.2 (2019) [Co-edited with Viktoria Tkaczyk].
    Doing Memory Research: New Methods and Approaches. Palgrave, 2018 [Co-edited with Danielle Drozdzewski].
    Making Worlds in Urban Cultural Studies. Special Issue of Journal of Urban Cultural Studies 5.2 (2018) [Co-edited with Simone Kalkman].
    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. Cambridge Scholars Press, 2009 [Co-edited with Maria Boletsi, Pieter Verstraete and Itay Sapir].
    Sonic Mediations: Body, Sound, Technology. Cambridge Scholars Press, 2008 [Co-edited with Anthony Enns].


    > Chapters / Articles (selection since 2018)

    “Reconstructing Media Culture: Transnational Perspectives on Radio in Silesia, 1924–1948” (with Joanna Walewska-Choptiany), Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television 39.3 (2019): 439-478
     “Radio Documents: Broadcasting, Sound Archiving, and the Rise of Radio Studies in Interwar Germany.” Technology and Culture 60.2 (2019): 96-128 
     “Listening to the Archive: Sound Data in the Humanities and Sciences” (with Viktoria Tkaczyk). Technology and Culture 60.2 (2019): 1-13
    "Advancing Memory Methods" (with Danielle Drozdzewski), in D. Drozdzewski and C. Birdsall (eds.), Doing Memory Research: New Methods and Approaches (Palgrave, 2019)
    "Using Emplaced Ethnography, Mobility and Listening to Research Memory" (with Danielle Drozdzewski), in D. Drozdzewski and C. Birdsall (eds.), Doing Memory Research: New Methods and Approaches (Palgrave, 2019)
    "Making Worlds in Urban Cultural Studies" (with Simone Kalkman). Urban Cultural Studies 5.2 (2018): 113-123
    "Worlding the Archive: Radio Collections, Heritage Frameworks, and Selection Principles", in A. Badenoch and G. Föllmer (eds.), Transnationalizing Radio Research: New Approaches to an Old Medium (transcript, 2018) [open access]
    "Divisions of Labour: Radio Archiving as Gendered Work in Wartime Britain and Germany.” International Yearbook of Women's History 37 (2018): 107-133.
    "Capturing Commemoration: Using Mobile Recording within Memory Research" (with Danielle Drozdzewski). Mobile Media & Communication 6.2 (2018): 266-284.  [open access]

    > Invited Talks and Presentations (selection since 2018)

    "International Perspectives on Radiophilia: Knowledge, Affect and Materiality", International Perspectives on a Radio Century symposium, Hilversum (8 Nov. 2019)
    Archivist roundtable "Managing Radio Collections related to the Second World War", IASA annual conference, Hilversum (1 Oct. 2019)
    "Tracking Radio Collections in Europe, 1930-1960", Digital Humanities Benelux, Liege (13 Sep. 2019)
    "Radio Collections in Europe, 1930-1960", AVA_Net annual conference, Hilversum (20 Jun. 2019)
    "Creative Agency in the Margins: Gendered Sound Work and Radio Aesthetics in European Comparison, 1930–1950", SCMS annual conference, Seattle (14 Mar. 2019)
    "Materialising Radio Ephemera: From Sound Documents to Acoustic Documentation", Akustische Dokumente/Sonic Documents conference, Bochum (18 Jan. 2019)
    "Radiophonic Experiments, Recording and the Invention of Radio Studies, 1924-1945", Radiophonics series - Museum Tinguely, Basel (25 Oct. 2018)

    > Conference / Workshop Organisation

    Co-organiser, Documentary Sound/Sound as Documentation, 26 Nov. 2019, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam 
    Co-organiser, Entanglements of Race, Sound and the Archive: Coloniality and the Globalised Present, 9 Dec. 2018, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam [see review here]
    Co-organiser, Urban Valorisation - Urban Cultures, Local Histories, and Redevelopment Agendas, 18 May 2018, University of Amsterdam and Amsterdam Museum, Amsterdam
    Co-organiser, Urban World-Making, 1-2 Jun. 2017, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam 
    Co-organiser, Listening to the Archive: Histories of Sound Data in the Humanities and Sciences, 11-13 Feb. 2016, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam 
    Co-organiser, Music, Voice and Orality in Performance History, 12 Jun. 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 Jan. 2014, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam; Part II: “Epistemologies and the Order of Sound,” 18-22 Aug. 2014, NYU Center / Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin [see review here and here]

  • Teaching

    Department of Media Studies, UvA

    For the academic year 2020-21, I will run RMA tutorial "(Post)Pandemic Urbanism" (6 or 12 EC). 

    Core Course, Collection and Collection Management, 2017-18, 2018-19, 2019-20
    Elective course, Visualising the Street, 2016-17
    Core Course Research Practices in Media Studies, 2016-17, 2017-18, 2018-19
    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 Film programme 
    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 Postcolonial Media Studies, 2017-18, 2018-19
    Core Module Media Culture in Transformation, 2016-17, 2017-18, 2018-19
    Elective course Sound Cultures: 2016-17
    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: 2012-13, 2013-14, 2015-16, 2016-17
    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

    Guest lectures & masterclasses (selection)

    Block seminar, Goethe University Frankfurt, Frankfurt, Dec. 2018- Jan. 2019: “Media Archives: Politics, Aesthetics, Materiality” [intensive seminar - six sessions]
    Max Planck Institute for Religious and Cultural Diversity, Göttingen, 20 Feb. 2018: “Explorations in Sound: Theory and Methods” [one-day skills workshop]
    Masterclass, University of Wrocław, 16-17 Oct. 2017: “How to Study Past and Present Soundscapes?” [two sessions]
    Guest lecture BA Art Science / Sonology, Royal Conservatorium of Music, The Hague, 22 Mar. 2017: “Sound Studies meets Media Studies” 
    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, University of Amsterdam, 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"

  • Publications


    • Kaiser, C. R., & Birdsall, C. J. (2020). Von der Kardex-Kartei zur Einführung der Datenverarbeitungsmaschine. Die archivarische Praxis der ersten 20 Jahre des Deutschen Rundfunkarchivs. Rundfunk und Geschichte, (1-2), 9-23.



    • Birdsall, C. (Guest ed.), & Kalkman, S. (Guest ed.) (2018). “Urban World-Making” [Special Issue]. Journal of Urban Cultural Studies, 5(2), 113-273.
    • Birdsall, C., & Drozdzewski, D. (2018). Capturing commemoration: Using mobile recordings within memory research . Mobile Media & Communication, 6(2), 266-284. [details]
    • Birdsall, C., & Kalkman, S. (2018). Making worlds in urban cultural studies. Journal of Urban Cultural Studies, 5(2), 113-123. [details]


    • Birdsall, C. (2017). Divisions of Labour: Radio Archiving as Gendered Work in Wartime Britain and Germany. In N. Willems, S. Holla, E. Buchheim, S. Bultman, M. Groot, E. Walhout, & I. de Zwarte (Eds.), Gender and archiving: past, present, future (pp. 107-133). (Jaarboek voor Vrouwengeschiedenis; Vol. 37). Amsterdam: Verloren. [details]


    • 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]
    • 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]


    • 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]
    • 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. [details]


    • 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]
    • 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]


    • 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]
    • 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]
    • 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]


    • 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]


    • 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: Amsterdam University Press. [details]


    • 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. (2018). Radio. In D. Morat, & H. Ziemer (Eds.), Handbuch Sound: Geschichte – Begriffe – Ansätze (pp. 353-359). Stuttgart: J.B. Metzler Verlag. [details]
    • Birdsall, C. (2018). Worlding the Archive: Radio Collections, Heritage Frameworks, and Selection Principles. In G. Föllmer, & A. Badenoch (Eds.), Transnationalizing Radio Research: New Approaches to an Old Medium (pp. 197-208). (Media Studies; Vol. 42). Bielefeld: Transcript. [details]
    • Birdsall, C. (Author), & Walewska, J. (Author). (2018). Beyond the ‘1945 divide’: Reassembling radio histories in Wrocław, formerly Breslau. Web publication/site, IAMHIST Blog. Retrieved from [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]



    • 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]


    • 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]


    • 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). Sonic mediations: body, sound, technology. 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]


    • 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 Publishers. [details]


    • Birdsall, C. J. (2018). 都市空間における「肯定的共鳴」. 10plus1, (4).




    • 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, 4(6), 252-256. [details]


    • van de Kamp, L., Birdsall, C. J. & Halauniova, A. (2017). Seed Grant Centre for Urban Studies for project Urban Heritage-Making: Cultural Forms, Local Histories and Redevelopment.


    • Kalkman, A. S. (2019). Worlding Rio de Janeiro’s favelas: Relations and representations of socio-spatial inequality in visual art. [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. Log in to Personal Page Publication Selection tool to manage the visibility of your publications on this list.
  • Ancillary activities
    • Mediafonds ( Dutch Cultural Media Fund)