MAY 23-25, 2024


Conference website & Registration

DGfA | 70th Annual Meeting | 23-25 May 2024 // University of Oldenburg (uol.de)


With its focus on “American Soundscapes,” the 70th meeting of the GAAS (DGfA) sets out to shed new light on the sonic dimension of North American histories, cultures, and societies. This dimension has not yet received as much attention as textual and visual articulations in American Studies. Yet, its analysis is key to understanding historical developments as well as present-day dynamics in the US. Be it the shrill voices of populist rhetoric that have come to dominate current US politics; the sounds that both resulted from and constituted processes of urbanization at the turn of the 20th century; or the sounds distributed by national radio and television that significantly contributed to a spatial refiguration of the United States: Sounds, in different forms and shapes, articulated through different media and technologies, have indeed been playing a central role in the formation and transformation of the US.

The 2024 Meeting initiates an interdisciplinary discussion that continues this exploration. It intends (1) to further explore the performativity of the sonic dimension of the US by scrutinizing the world-making potential of different forms, media, and technologies of sounds; (2) to add to a more nuanced understanding of the interplay of sounds with other modes of cultural expression to (3) reassess US histories, cultures, and societies through a sound-sensitive perspective. Accordingly, it asks how the US has taken shape acoustically in different historical and regional contexts; it examines how sound and music render intelligible specific identities and subject positions, both individual and collective, thus identifying the ways in which the construction of social and cultural (i.e. racial, gender, sexual) difference takes place orally and aurally.