Julie Beth Napolin
Associate Professor of Digital Humanities; Capstone Coordinator for Literature
M - 68 Fifth Avenue
My work participates in the emerging field of sound studies, focusing on discourses of listening in modern and contemporay literature, film, media, philosophy, and music. I am especially interested in the history of sound reproduction and cinema's turn to sound, American and British modernism, the work of Faulkner and Conrad, and what practices and philosophies of listening in the 20th century and beyond can tell us about aesthetic forms. I am also interested in the intersections of narrative and the digital humanities, asking how digital practices can represent the movements of sounds and voices in text. I am a radio producer, practicing musician, and core-collaborator of “Digital Yoknapatawpha,” an online mapping of the works of Faulkner.
My book manuscript, titled The Fact of Resonance, is forthcoming in June 2020 with Fordham University Press. The book is both a history of sound in modernity and a rethinking of the central categories of narrative theory through sound's phenomenology. The racially and sexually fraught spaces of Joseph Conrad's fiction instantiate narrative "acoustics." If modernism destabilizes what can be known, then how do modernism’s unstable epistemologies “sound?” The power of modernist narrative acoustics is to create indeterminate spaces where “facts”–of event, location, and identity–disperse and multiply. The book follows the transformations of sound technology through the resonances between the work of Conrad and Frantz Fanon, Sigmund Freud, W.E.B. Du Bois, William Faulkner, and Chantal Akerman.
Research and teaching fields
20th-century American literature and media culture
Film history and theory
Narrative theory and the novel
Psychoanalysis and theories of the subject
Critical race theory
Gender and sexuality
B.A., Interdisciplinary Studies, Hampshire College
M.A., Rhetoric, University of California, Berkeley
Ph.D., Rhetoric, University of California, Berkeley
Joseph Conrad Society of America (Trustee)
William Faulkner Society (Officer-at-large)
Modern Language Association
Society for the Study of Narrative
Society for Cinema and Media Studies
American Comparative Literature Association
Black Sound and the Archive Working Group, Yale University
“Blues Speaker [for James Baldwin]: A Dialogue with Mendi + Keith Obadike, Social Text Online, 21 August 2018.
“On Banishing Socrates’ Wife: The Interiority of the Ear in Phaedo,” Poesies, eds. Nathan Brown and Petar Milat, Centre for Expanded Poetics, 2017.
“Elliptical Sound: Audibility and the Space of Reading,” Sounding Modernism, eds. Julian Murphet, Penelope Hone, and Helen Groth, Edinburgh UP, 2017.
“The Fact of Resonance: An Acoustics of Determination in Faulkner and Benjamin.” Symploke, vol. 24, no. 1-2, 2016, pp. 171-186.
“Scenes of Subjection: Women’s Voices Narrating Black Death." Sounding Out!: The Sound Studies Blog, 19 December, 2016.
“‘A Sinister Resonance’: Vibration, Sound, and the Birth of Conrad’s Marlow,” qui parle, vol. 21, no. 2, pp. 53-79. Awarded the Bruce Harkness Young Scholar Prize by the Joseph Conrad Society of America.
Awards And Honors
Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Price Lab for Digital Humanities at the University of Pennsylvania, 2018-2020
Mellon Fellow in the Graduate Institute of Design, Ethnography, and Social Thought, 2014-2015
The Joseph Conrad Society of America Bruce Harkness Young Scholar Prize, 2013
Jacob K. Javits Fellow, 2001-2005
Woodrow Wilson Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities, 2000-2001