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For most of history, noise was just nasty side effect of industry and urbanization, what one author calls “the unwanted sound of everything we want.” However, in the 20th century, noise took on new meanings and powers—and even became a useful commodity in itself. In this talk, you’ll learn what noise has taught us about human communication, culture, and perception. 


Mack Hagood is the Robert H. and Nancy J. Blayney Associate Professor of Comparative Media Studies at Miami University. His book Hush: Media and Sonic Self Control (Duke University Press, 2019) is about “orphic media,” apps and devices such as white noise makers and noise-canceling headphones, used to create a comfortable sense of space through sound. He is also the co-producer of the podcast Phantom Power, which explores the cutting edge of sound in the arts and humanities.

Objects that Changed the World is a new collaboration between the Miami University Humanities Center and the Alumni Association. Featuring Miami’s nationally recognized faculty in the humanities, each lecture is inspired by an object of such prevalence today it might be easily overlooked and develops original insights and novel lessons about the object in question. We invite all alumni to reconnect with faculty and to show their support for the Humanities Center’s mission to advocate for the central place of the humanities in both the university and wider society. 

To donate and become a Friend of the Humanities Center, click here.

Dial-In Information

Register for this lecture here. Please reach out to J.J. Slager,, with questions.  

Wednesday, April 28 at 12:00pm

Virtual Event
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Lectures & Presentations

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Students, Faculty & Staff, Alumni, General Public

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Arts & Humanities


Alumni Association, Humanities Center
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