The Secret Life of Radio: Fringe Practices (Fall 2019)

Meeting Time: 
M 1:30-3:20

Course Description:

This course examines selected case studies of marginal and fringe practices of radio broadcasting across its history. The aim of the course is to defamiliarize the norms of radio broadcasting and reimagine it as a form of creative, political, and social practice. Prominent experts, scholars, and practitioners visit the course. 

The Franke Seminars and Lectures in the Humanities are intended to present important topics in the humanities to a wide and general audience, and to tie interdisciplinary undergraduate education to the work of distinguished visiting scholars. Made possible through the generosity of Richard and Barbara Franke, this series of lectures is organized in conjunction with Yale College courses (the Franke Seminars) and develops an annual theme of broad interest to the community.


Led by:

Professor Brian Kane is an Associate Professor of Music. His scholarly work is interdisciplinary, located in the intersection of music theory, composition and philosophy.  Working primarily with 20th century music, Kane’s emphasis is on questions of sound and signification. Central themes in his research are: music and sound art, histories and theories of listening, phenomenology, improvisation, music and subjectivity, technology, conceptualizations of sound and music in literature and philosophy, and theories of the voice. 

Some of these themes are interwoven in Kane’s recent work on acousmatic sound. Acousmatic refers to the separation of audition from all other sensory modalities, and is often deployed in phenomenological contexts in order to disclose the “essence” of listening. In his forthcoming book, Sound Unseen, Kane investigates the question of acousmatic sound beyond its phenomenological context and demonstrates its pertinence to current work on musical and non-musical forms of listening. This also involves reconstructing the philosophical and material history of acousmatic sound from its supposed origins in the Pythagorean school, through the rise of mechanically reproduced sound and electronic composition, to contemporary discourses on the senses, sound, and composition.

Kane is chair of the Society for Music Theory’s Music and Philosophy Interest Group, and a founding editor of the humanities journal He is a co-founder of the Sound Studies Working Group at the Whitney Humanities Center.