Emily Thompson

Emily Thompson is a Professor of History at Princeton University.

  • The Soundscape of Modernity

    The Soundscape of Modernity

    Architectural Acoustics and the Culture of Listening in America, 1900–1933

    Emily Thompson

    A vibrant history of acoustical technology and aural culture in early-twentieth-century America.

    In this history of aural culture in early-twentieth-century America, Emily Thompson charts dramatic transformations in what people heard and how they listened. What they heard was a new kind of sound that was the product of modern technology. They listened as newly critical consumers of aural commodities. By examining the technologies that produced this sound, as well as the culture that enthusiastically consumed it, Thompson recovers a lost dimension of the Machine Age and deepens our understanding of the experience of change that characterized the era.

    Reverberation equations, sound meters, microphones, and acoustical tiles were deployed in places as varied as Boston's Symphony Hall, New York's office skyscrapers, and the soundstages of Hollywood. The control provided by these technologies, however, was applied in ways that denied the particularity of place, and the diverse spaces of modern America began to sound alike as a universal new sound predominated. Although this sound—clear, direct, efficient, and nonreverberant—had little to say about the physical spaces in which it was produced, it speaks volumes about the culture that created it. By listening to it, Thompson constructs a compelling new account of the experience of modernity in America.

    • Hardcover $49.95 £34.95
    • Paperback $38.95 £30.00
  • The Architecture of Science

    The Architecture of Science

    Peter Galison and Emily Thompson

    The Architecture of Science offers a dazzling set of speculations by historians of science, architecture, and art; architectural theorists; and sociologists as well as practicing scientists and architects.

    How do the spaces in which science is done shape the identity of the scientist and the self-conception of scientific fields? How do the sciences structure the identity of the architect and the practice of architecture in a specific period? And how does the design of spaces such as laboratories, hospitals, and museums affect how the public perceives and interacts with the world of science? The Architecture of Science offers a dazzling set of speculations on these issues by historians of science, architecture, and art; architectural theorists; and sociologists as well as practicing scientists and architects. The essays are organized into six sections: "Of Secrecy and Openness: Science and Architecture in Early Modern Europe"; "Displaying and Concealing Technics in the Nineteenth Century"; "Modern Space"; "Is Architecture Science?"; "Princeton after Modernism: The Lewis Thomas Laboratory for Molecular Biology"; and "Centers, Cities, and Colliders."

    • Hardcover $75.00 £51.95
    • Paperback $74.00 £57.00

Contributor

  • Ways of Hearing

    Ways of Hearing

    Damon Krukowski

    A writer-musician examines how the switch from analog to digital audio is changing our perceptions of time, space, love, money, and power.

    Our voices carry farther than ever before, thanks to digital media. But how are they being heard? In this book, Damon Krukowski examines how the switch from analog to digital audio is changing our perceptions of time, space, love, money, and power. In Ways of Hearing—modeled on Ways of Seeing, John Berger's influential 1972 book on visual culture—Krukowski offers readers a set of tools for critical listening in the digital age. Just as Ways of Seeing began as a BBC television series, Ways of Hearing is based on a six-part podcast produced for the groundbreaking public radio podcast network Radiotopia. Inventive uses of text and design help bring the message beyond the range of earbuds.

    Each chapter of Ways of Hearing explores a different aspect of listening in the digital age: time, space, love, money, and power. Digital time, for example, is designed for machines. When we trade broadcast for podcast, or analog for digital in the recording studio, we give up the opportunity to perceive time together through our media. On the street, we experience public space privately, as our headphones allow us to avoid “ear contact” with the city. Heard on a cell phone, our loved ones' voices are compressed, stripped of context by digital technology. Music has been dematerialized, no longer an object to be bought and sold. With recommendation algorithms and playlists, digital corporations have created a media universe that adapts to us, eliminating the pleasures of brick-and-mortar browsing. Krukowski lays out a choice: do we want a world enriched by the messiness of noise, or one that strives toward the purity of signal only?

    • Paperback $19.95 £14.99