Noise Uprising: The Audiopolitics of a World Musical Revolution

  • New York Institute for the Humanities at NYU 20 Cooper Square, 5th Floor New York, NY, 10003 United States

Please join the New York Institute for the Humanities for a presentation and roundtable discussion of Noise Uprising, a new book by Michael Denning.

Michael Denning’s Noise Uprising: The Audiopolitics of a World Musical Revolution (Verso) brings to life the moment and sounds of a cultural revolution. Between the development of electrical recording in 1925 and the outset of the Great Depression in the early 1930s, the soundscape of modern times unfolded in a series of obscure recording sessions, as hundreds of unknown musicians entered makeshift studios to record the melodies and rhythms of urban streets and dancehalls. The musical styles and idioms etched onto shellac disks reverberated around the globe: among them Havana’s son, Rio’s samba, New Orleans’ jazz, Buenos Aires’ tango, Seville’s flamenco, Cairo’s tarab, Johannesburg’s marabi, Jakarta’s kroncong, and Honolulu’s hula. They triggered the first great battle over popular music and became the soundtrack to decolonization.

Join us at the New York Institute for the Humanities for a presentation and roundtable discussion of Noise Uprising with Michael Denning (Yale University Press), Brent Edwards (Columbia), Ben Ratliff (New York Times/NYU), and Alexandra Vazquez (NYU).

About the Participants


MICHAEL DENNING is the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of American Studies at Yale University, and the Co-Director of the Initiative on Labor and Culture. Among his publications are Culture in the Age of Three Worlds (Verso, 2004), The Cultural Front: The Laboring of American Culture in the Twentieth Century (Verso, 1997), Mechanic Accents: Dime Novels and Working Class Culture in America (Verso, 1987), and Cover Stories: Narrative and Ideology in the British Spy Thriller (Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1987). Noise Uprising: The Audiopolitics of a World Musical Revolution was published this fall by Verso.

BRENT HAYES EDWARDS is a Professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, where he is also affiliated with the Center for Jazz Studies. His books include The Practice of Diaspora: Literature, Translation, and the Rise of Black Internationalism (Harvard UP 2003), and the co-edited anthology Uptown Conversation: The New Jazz Studies (Columbia UP 2004). Edwards served as co-editor of the journal Social Text from 2001-2011. His new book Epistrophies: Jazz and the Literary Imagination will be published in 2016, as will his translation of Michel Leiris’s L’Afrique fantôme. He is a 2015 Guggenheim Fellow.

BEN RATLIFF is a music critic at The New York Times, and author of several books including Coltrane: The Story of a Sound (Picador, 2007) and the forthcoming Every Song Ever: Twenty Ways To Listen in an Age of Musical Plenty (Farrar, Straus and Giroux).

ALEXANDRA T. VAZQUEZ is Associate Professor in the Department of Performance Studies at New York University. Her book, Listening in Detail: Performances of Cuban Music (Duke University Press 2013), won the American Studies Association’s Lora Romero Book Prize in 2014. Vazquez’s work has been featured in the journals American QuarterlySocial TextWomen & Performance, and The Journal of Popular Music Studies, and in the edited volumes Reggaeton and Pop When the World Falls Apart.

Free and open to the public with RSVP.