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Andrea Florence Bohlman
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (Chapel Hill, NC 27599-1350)
Fragile Sound, Silent History: Music and Unofficial Media in Communist Poland

Preparation of a monograph on the history of media and music in communist Poland, 1945 to 1990.

I will complete the research for a book project, Fragile Sound, Silent History: Music and Unofficial Media in Communist Poland. I argue that the precariousness of sound media in East Central Europe has contributed to the assumption of a logocentric--too often, silent--cultural history, obscuring a vibrant network of unofficial sound production and reproduction. In Poland, untrained recordists and engineers took recourse to sound media in order to critique top-down narratives, to disseminate music outside of the commercial market, and to commemorate traumatic historical events. The book is structured around three case studies: (1) reel-to-reel recordings in the 1950s, (2) homemade records in the 1960s and 70s, and (3) cassette tapes in the 1980s. In this first large-scale media history of East Central Europe, I reframe the discourse of Cold War music studies, now focused on ideological control and revolution, to a new historiography of music in everyday life under state socialism.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
Ethnomusicology; European History; Music History and Criticism

Fellowships for University Teachers

Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2017 – 12/31/2017