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Sounds of the South

Corn shucking, banjo picking, and a tractor engine starting are among the sounds contained in this exhibit. The three categories of "music," "leisure," and "agriculture" seek to provide a diverse sampling of the iconic sounds one would hear in the American South, though the lines distinguishing these are often blurred. By combining existing audio files from the internet, excerpts from personal music collections, and unique field recordings, this exhibit contains both spontaneously collected sounds and ones that are stereotypically southern. The students who assembled this dictionary did so in the wake of discussions of classical southern works of literature like Solomon Northup's Twelve Years a Slave, Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God, and Jean Toomer's Cane. While some items have escaped the touch of time (crickets chirping), others have changed significantly (manual vs. mechanical agriculture) or become possible (Southern rock) because of technological advances. We encourage you to consider the time period of each sound recording as you engage the sounds of the South represented in our dictionary.  

Learn more about our course by visiting our website.

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Overheard at Oberlin

Oberlin College and Conservatory was established in the year 1833 and is well known for its academic and musical excellence. It is a place where people hear and listen in on the world from diverse perspectives. As such, there are many sounds that make up Oberlin College. "Overheard at Oberlin" is a sonic exhibit curated by sound students in the First Year Seminar titled "Soundscapes: Listening the Past/ Hearing the Present."  "Overheard" showcases the aural cultures that define the people who live, work, and learn at Oberlin, both the institution and the town.  By resourcing, researching, and curating the sounds that distinguish our political, social, and environmental soundscape, this exhibit participates in projects that seek to challenge the predominance of visual culture in our society.

Our exhibit includes five individual collections: Oberlin Music, Oberlin Learning, Oberlin Labor,  Oberlin Leisure, , Oberlin Activism. These collections include the voices and vibrations emanating from the Conservatory, the clicking of fingers on keyboards at Mudd Library, the whirring of a blender at Cowhaus Creamery, the spinning of a potter's wheel at the ceramics studio, and voices raised in protest throughout Oberlin history. We invite you to embark on a sonic journey through the sounds heard and overheard, past and present, at Oberlin.

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