May 23, 2016


A digital platform for source criticism

source-code-583537_960_720As of June 1st 2016 Dr. Stef Scagliola works as postdoc researcher at the Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education the University of Luxembourg, where she will be leading the development of a digital platform for teaching digital source criticism. This virtual environment has the objective to sensitize students and scholars to reflect on the epistemological and methodological challenges of digitization and of online accessibility of historical sources. This will be done by offering training modules and concrete case studies that reflect the diversity of sub-disciplines of history, and illustrate the changes at each stage of the research process: searching and identifying relevant sources, selecting and annotating them, analyzing the content, presenting the outcome and finally curating the dataset in order to make it suitable for re-use.  She will keep a blog of her experiences during the course of the project.

Post-doc research by Dr. Stef Scagliola.

Kunstkopf stereophony – Failure and Success of Dummy Head Recording: An Innovation History of 3D Listening

stefanprojectThis project studies the history of dummy head technology (Kunstkopf-stereophony) which was full of high hopes, disappointments, and late success. Presented in 1973 and praised for its true to the original sound event “super-stereo”-quality, contemporaneous commentators expected that the new technology would revolutionize radio and music recording. However, by the end of the decade, it was considered a failed innovation. Then, in the late 1980s, dummy head technology started a second career as measurement instrument in acoustical engineering. The two very different trajectories of dummy head technology are interesting examples of the ruptures and discontinuities in the development of a sound technology; ruptures, which reveal a multiplicity of listening practices and habits that this project aims at studying in detail. The initially failed establishment of dummy head recording helps to reveal the historical specificity and plurality of “listening positions” of recording engineers, electrical engineers, radio makers, and radio listeners. The project will use insights from innovation study literature on path dependencies as framework. More precise, it will look into institutional, technological, medial, and socio-cultural path dependencies that hampered or enabled the success of dummy head recording in the two fields of application. It will be argued that socio-cultural path dependencies in music recording played a crucial role in the failed acceptance of the dummy head microphone, as well as in the successful introduction of the dummy head as a measuring device. To show this, the project will describe the “aural thinking” (Susan Schmidt Horning) of acoustical engineers, recording engineers, and radio makers. The research project has thus two main objectives: it will help to better understand the various conditions for technical innovation in the media industry, and it will provide insights into (professional) listening practices and thus contribute to a more general understanding of the nature and historical situatedness of aural thinking.

Project by Dr. Stefan Krebs