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Uncommon Salons @ Bobst - Talking Books and the History of Aural Speed Reading In-Person

Uncommon Salons @ Bobst Presents

Mara Mills's Talking Books and the History of Aural Speed Reading

Speech gained momentum in television and radio broadcasting in the 1970s, after the commercialization of "time compressors" that allowed tape recordings to be accelerated without any change in pitch. This talk will discuss the cultural imperative for aural speed reading among blind Talking Book readers, dating to the 1930s, which drove time-stretching innovations in the magnetic tape era, allowing playback rate to be changed without affecting pitch.

This talk is excerpted from a book-in-progress that Mills is co-authoring with Jonathan Sterne. Tentatively titled Tuning Time: Histories of Sound and Speed, it traces the practice of accelerated and decelerated sound reproduction from blind phonograph users in the 1930s to Auto-Tune, Ableton Live, Audible books, and YouTube videos today.

Mara Mills is Associate Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University, where she co-founded and co-directs the Center for Disability Studies. She is a founding editor of the journal Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience.  Her research and teaching interests include communication history (especially related to telephones and reading practices), science and technology studies, disability theory, and mobile media studies. 

In her previous works, she has argued for the significance of phonetics and deaf education to the emergence of “communication engineering” in early twentieth-century telephony.. Mills is currently working on the history of optical character recognition and, with Jonathan Sterne, she is co-authoring a book titled Tuning Time: Histories of Sound and Speed. Mills is the recipient of three NYU teaching awards, as well as numerous fellowships. More information can be found at her website: maramills.org

RSVP Required

Thursday, February 27th at 6:00 PM 
Bobst Library - Room 745
Open to the Public | Light Refreshments will be served

Thursday, February 27, 2020
6:00pm - 7:30pm
Time Zone:
Eastern Time - US & Canada (change)
Avery Fisher Center (AFC)
Bobst Library
  Students, Faculty, Staff & Community Members  
  Library Event  
Registration has closed.

Event Organizer

Brynne Campbell