Research Projects

Audio History

How Film Sound Produces History

This proposal investigates how history is generated in auditory terms, modeled and conveyed experientially by film sound and thus represents an extension of existing approaches relating both to the cinematic narration of history and visual history.

The proposal’s innovative core stems from the hypothesis that the acoustic dimension of film makes its own unique contribution to the modeling of history. Unlike the cinematic narration of history and / or visual history, the audio history of film has yet to be examined in any detail. Although sound has developed into a relevant research field within film studies and its study has also recently been established as an independent discipline referred to as sound studies, the historical reference points of sound production in film as well as its significance in the production of historicity have not yet formed an independent subject of research.

Within historical research, the narration of history has described and reflected upon as a poetological process, while visual history, which carries out research on film and visual images, has been regarded as a specific procedure within this wider discipline. Yet such approaches do not examine the auditory dimensions of film in independent terms but rather focus exclusively on its visual qualities. This research gap forms the starting point for this proposal, which explores how history may be generated in auditory terms, modeled or conveyed experientially by film sound. The focus here is on creating a theoretical framework for the audio history of cinema. This involves both examining the aesthetic dimensions of sound and its potential for producing history as well as looking at the material, technical and cultural dimensions of film sound production with regard to methods of historical modeling.

The goal of the proposal is to establish the significant role played by film sound in the production of history in suitably prominent fashion. This proposal is carrying out work of a truly pioneering nature within film studies and also carries the prospect of becoming a highly innovative approach for tackling the interdisciplinary field of film studies and history. 

   | Publication (in German)

Exploration Project on new topics

Prof. Dr. Winfried Pauleit
Phone: +49 (0)421 218 67720

Dr. Rasmus Greiner
Phone: +49 (0)421 218 67725

Dr. Mattias Frey
University of Kent, UK
Senior Lecturer Film
Phone: +44 (0)1227 82(7132)

In cooperation with:

Prof. Dr. Delia González de Reufels
Institute for History
Main focus Latin America History
Department 8 - Social Sciences
University of Bremen
Phone: +49 (0)421 218 67200

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