About the Book


Germany in the Loud Twentieth Century seeks to understand recent German history and contemporary German culture through its sounds and musics, noises and silences, using the means and modes of the emerging field of Sound Studies. German soundscapes present a particularly fertile field for investigation and understanding, Feiereisen and Hill argue, due to such unique factors in Germany's history as its early and especially cacophonous industrialization, the sheer loudness of its wars, and the possibilities of shared noises in its division and reunification. Organized largely but not strictly chronologically, chapters use the unique contours of the German aural experience to examine how these soundscapes - the sonic environments, the ever-present arrays of noises with which everyone lives - ultimately reveal the possibility of "national" sounds. Together the chapters consider the acoustic national identity of Germany, or the cultural significance of sounds and silence, since the development and rise of sound-recording and sound-disseminating technologies in the early 1900s Chapters draw examples from a remarkably broad range of contexts and historical periods, from the noisy urban spaces at the turn of the twentieth century to battlefields and concert halls to radio and television broadcasting to the hip hop soundscapes of today. As a whole, the book makes a compelling case for the scholarly utility of listening to them. An online "Bonus Track" of teaching materials offers instructors practical tips for classroom use.


  • Brings together authors from journalism, art history, music, history, literature, and architecture
  • Covers a remarkably broad range of topics, from noisy city of the early 1900s to the hip-hop soundscapes of the millennium
  • Features an online "Bonus Track" teaching guide


"From drowning out the cacophony of modernity's urban noise to cranking up the volume in Rap and Hip Hop performances, Feiereisen and Hill, and the collection of critical essays, draw attention to the impact, production and meaning of the ever-present acoustic landscape. The engaging and pioneering anthology will change the way we hear and perceive the twentieth century." --Barbara Kosta, Professor of German Studies, University of Arizona

"Listen up! This fascinating interdisciplinary study gives voice to the soundscapes of twentieth-century Germany, reconstructing the sonic traces of urbanization, war, dictatorship, division, and immigration. Sophisticated and accessible, these essays will provide compelling reading for everyone interested in German history and contemporary culture."--Hester Baer, Associate Professor of German & Women's and Gender Studies, University of Oklahoma

"This is a compelling collection, which calls upon readers to resituate the acoustic in accounts of modern experience until now largely dominated by attention to the visual. Following Adorno, it makes the case for 'thinking with our ears,' bringing together a wide range of essays by emerging scholars in order to probe the central role played by sound in German articulations of cultural identity and critique. The anthology fairly crackles with fascinating insights on the importance of the 'heard' for 20th century German art and society - important reading for scholars and students concerned with questions of modern media cultures." --Jennifer Kapczynski, Associate Professor of German, Washington University in Saint Louis

"This interdisciplinary investigation of auditory experiences in contemporary Germany reads easily and equips the reader with theoretical tools to explore multiple connections between soundscapes and nation. Essential reading for scholars interested in hearing cultural history and its silences!" --Faye Stewart, Assistant Professor of German, Georgia State University

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