Thursday, March 5, 2015
7:00 PM to 8:30 PM EDT

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Elizabeth Taylor 
America in Class – National Humanities Center 

Listening to the Past:
Sound in the Classroom

Lead Scholar

Emily Thompson
Professor of History, Princeton University

Webinar Details

The past sounded different. Telephones rang. Typewriters clacked. Steam trains hooted and chugged. Today, through recordings on the internet, these sounds are available as never before. Historians have recently begun to analyze these sound troves, and their work is reshaping our understanding of the past. Their interpretations of “sonic cultures” seek not merely to recover the sounds of the past but also the meaning of those sounds. To do that, aural historians strive to place us in the mindsets of the people who originally heard the sounds. Listening in context is a new way of entering the past.

This webinar will explore what the emerging field of sound studies has to offer high school teachers. It will examine a variety of resources, including the website “The Roaring Twenties,” an interactive exploration of the soundscape of New York City developed by the webinar leader Prof. Emily Thompson of Princeton University. What did people hear in the past? How did they respond to those sounds? What can students learn about the past by listening to it? Join us to hear it now as it was then.