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Jacob Smith
Professor; Associate Department Chair; Director, Master of Arts in Sound Arts and Industries

Jacob Smith

Jacob Smith is co-founder and director of the Master of Arts in Sound Arts and Industries, and professor in the Department of Radio/Television/Film. He is the author of Vocal Tracks: Performance and Sound Media (University of California Press 2008); Spoken Word: Postwar American Phonograph Cultures (University of California Press 2011); The Thrill Makers: Celebrity, Masculinity, and Stunt Performance (University of California Press 2012); and Eco-Sonic Media (University of California Press, 2015). His experimental audiobook, ESC: Sonic Adventure in the Anthropocene (University of Michigan Press 2019) can be heard here:

He writes and teaches about the cultural history of media, with a focus on sound and the relationship between media and the environment.


PhD Department of Communication and Culture, Indiana University

Recent Publications

Lightning Birds: An Aeroecology of the Airwaves (University of Michigan Press, 2020)

Indian Sound Culture, Indian Sound Citizenship, co-edited with Laura Brueck and Neil Verma (University of Michigan Press, 2020)

“Travels with Jack: ZBS’s Post-Network Radio Adventure,” Resonance, Vol. 1, No. 1, 2020.

ESC: Sonic Adventure in the Anthropocene (University of Michigan Press, 2019)

Anatomy of Sound: Norman Corwin and Media Authorship, co-edited with Neil Verma (University of California Press, 2016)

“The chance meeting of a goose and a plover on a turntable: Chris Watson’s wildlife sound recordings,” in Sound Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, December 2016.

Recent Awards, Honors and Grants

Anatomy of Sound: Norman Corwin and Media Authorship won the Kraszna-Krausz Best Moving Image Book Award, 2017.

Spoken Word won the 2012 Association for Recorded Sound Collections Award for Excellence in General Historical Research on Recorded Sound.


Sound Studies; History of the Recording Industry; Musical Media; Media and the Environment: Meet David Lynch;

The Art of the Soundtrack; Film History; Children’s Media Culture; Understanding Creative Industries