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March 29, 2013: Reading by Ear: Musical Print and Recorded Literature (1930-1950), a talk by Mara Mills

maclaren model_1951-mara_millsMarch 29th, 5:00pm, Elliott Hall N639
Reading by Ear: Musical Print and Recorded Literature (1930-1950)
Mara Mills, New York University

Print, in its material form and in its cultural pervasiveness, has generated its own disabilities. Reading, in turn, has been transformed by technologies for print access. This talk will examine the emergence of audio book formats–and debates about aural reading–in the twentieth century, with a focus on optophones and Talking Books.

Mara Mills is an Assistant Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University who works at the intersection of disability studies and media studies. She’s completing a book (On the Phone: Deafness and Communication Engineering) on the significance of phonetics and deaf education to the emergence of “communication engineering” in early twentieth-century telephony; this concept and set of practices later gave rise to information theory, digital coding, and cybernetics. Her second book project, Print Disability and New Reading Formats, examines the reformatting of print over the course of the past century by blind and other print disabled readers, with a focus on Talking Books and electronic reading machines. Mills received B.A. degrees in Biology and Literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz and a Ph.D. in History of Science from Harvard University. She has held fellowships from the National Science Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the IEEE. In 2011, she was the Beaverbrook Visiting Scholar at Media@McGill.

Organized by the IAS Collaborative Music and Sound Studies.

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