Living Stereo: History, Culture, Multichannel Sound

Call for papers
A Symposium organized by the Sound Studies Group, Institute for Comparative Studies in Literature, Art & Culture
Carleton University, Ottawa March 9 – 11, 2012
Keynote speakers: Dr. Jonathan Sterne (McGill University), Dr. Tim J. Anderson (Old Dominion University)

This conference is about the history and significance of stereo sound reproduction in aural culture. Stereo is everywhere: the whole culture and industry of music and sound became organized around the principle of stereo during the mid twentieth century. But nothing about this – not the invention or acceptance or ubiquity of stereo – was inevitable. Nor did the aesthetic conventions, technological objects, and listening practices required to make sense of stereo emerge fully formed, out of the blue.

We invite paper proposals on any aspect of the history, culture and analysis of stereo sound, from fields such as popular music studies and ethno/musicology, sound and media studies, sociology, gender, film theory, and science and technology studies. Presentations will be 20 minutes. Proposals should be no more than 300 words; include a brief bio & contact info (100 words).

Closing date for proposals: extended to Monday, October 24, 2011. Presenters will be notified by December 1.

Submissions by email to:

Topics may include but are not limited to:
· Early experiments in stereo and binaural sound during the late 19th and early 20th centuries
· The history of stereophonic listening practices
· Multichannel stereo and wide-screen film in the 1950s
· Audiophiles, hi-fi culture, domestic space
· Sound, space and the body: positioning the listener
· ‘Staging’ sound: analysis of spatial aesthetics in stereo recordings (art music and popular)
· Stereo and studio practices
· ‘Pan-pot stereo’ and ‘multitrack mono’ in 1960s pop
· Multichannel sound and ‘live’ music
· Sound systems and the dance floor: do DJs prefer mono?
· Stereo in radio and television broadcasting
· Immersive environments and gaming
· MP3s, mobile playback and stereo headphone listening
· QSound, Holophonics, and other 3D enhancements
· Social studies of psycho/acoustics

Building on the conference, our goal is to publish a collection of essays in the history and culture of multichannel sound (edited by Paul Théberge and the Symposium organizing committee).

For further information please look for the conference link at: or contact Paul Théberge c/o