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Phonographies
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Cultural study of the effects of sound technologies--from the phonograph to the Walkman--on African American literature, art, and music in the twentieth century

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Intro: It's Beginning to Feel Like . . . 1
1. Hearing Sonic Afro-Modernity 19
2. "I Am I Be": A Subject of Sonic Afro-Modernity 46
3. In the Mix 73
4. Consuming Sonic Technologies 106
5. Sounding Diasporic Citizenship 145
Outro: Thinking Sound/Sound Thinking (Slipping into the Breaks Remix) 199
Notes 211
Works Cited 257
Index 279

About the Author

Alexander G. Weheliye is Assistant Professor of English and African American Studies at Northwestern University.

Reviews

"Phonographies is often original and challenging ... strong interdisciplinary connections are made and new insights emerge, and the seamless manner in which he does it startles most of all."--The Wire, Sept 2005 "Phonographies is extraordinary. Its acute, brilliant, and unprecedented attention to technology and its relation to music, literature, and Afro-diasporic subjectivity and citizenship make it one of the most important and significant contributions to black studies, cultural studies, and aesthetic theory in the last ten years. Phonographies demands, and will abundantly repay, the careful attention of its readers and listeners."--Fred Moten, author of In the Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition "A glorious and important contribution to the literatures on music technologies, black music, black writing, and race studies, Phonographies is unique. For the first time, we have a theory that suggests how powerful black culture is in the course of modernity and that accounts for the almost global dominance of black modes of musicality in world cultures since the advent of recorded sound."--John Corbett, author of Extended Play: Sounding Off from John Cage to Dr. Funkenstein "Phonographies is often original and challenging ... strong interdisciplinary connections are made and new insights emerge, and the seamless manner in which he does it startles most of all."--The Wire "In this outstanding book, Alexander G. Weheliye combines sound 'phono' and writing 'graph' in the classic texts of Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man and W. E. B Du Bois's The Souls of Black Folk to create Phonographies : Grooves in Sonic Afro-modernity. This book is an original examination of sound (often comparing it to visual representations), music, music technologies (from the phonograph to iPods) and disk jockeying. Phonographies includes a multitude of well-researched references to key writers in African American studies, music history, literary criticism and cultural studies, drawing upon the work of Althusser, Derrida, Deleuze, Freud, and Lacan, amongst others, to inform views... Phonographies is definitely worth reading more than once; it is a highly significant text for the field of African American Studies."-- Emma Louise Kilkelly, Journal of American Studies "The biggest contribution of Phonographies, however, is neither these fresh and welcome readings nor the discovery of modernity's black leitmotif but rather its invitation to read anew these and older texts with one's ears open."-- Mendi Lewis Obadike, American Literature

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