David Suisman

David Suisman

My scholarly interests concern the relationship between different forms of cultural and economic power, particularly in relation to the development of modern consumer capitalist society. More precisely, these interests crystallize around subjects related to citizenship, critiques of capitalism, intellectual property, advertising, photography, film, literature, and music. These also encompass a concern for the broader historiographic challenge of cultural history itself and the problems inherent in writing histories of “experience.” This has led me into a deep interest as well in sensory experience—seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, smelling—and consideration of the senses as social constructions, whose historical significance can vary over time and space.

My publications include:

Selling Sounds: The Commercial Revolution in American Music (Harvard UP, 2009), named one of Choice’s “Outstanding Academic Titles for 2009”;winner of the Hagley Prize for the Best Book in Business History, and the DeSantis Book Prize, Society of Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era; and honorable mention for the Woody Guthrie Prize, International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM), U.S. branch. A Chinese translation of Selling Sounds was published in 2017.

Sound in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010), co-edited with Susan Strasser.

“Afterword: Music, Sound, History,” Journal of Social History, special issue on the social and cultural history of music (forthcoming).

“The American Environmental Movement’s Lost Victory: The Fight Against Sonic Booms,” The Public Historian 37, no. 4 (November 2015), 111–31.

“The Oklahoma City Sonic Boom Experiment and the Politics of Supersonic Aviation,” Radical History Review no. 121 (January 2015), 169-195.

“Sound Recordings and Popular Music Histories: The Remix,” Journal of Popular Music Studies 23, no. 2 (2011), 212-20.

“Sound, Knowledge, and the ‘Immanence of Human Failure’: Rethinking Musical Mechanization through the Phonograph, the Player-Piano, and the Piano,” Social Text 102 (Spring 2010)

“Co-workers in the Kingdom of Culture: Black Swan Records and the Political Economy of African-American Music.” Journal of American History 90 (March 2004).

Since 2011, I have been associate editor of the Journal of Popular Music Studies.