Tyler Whitney’s research and teaching focuses on the interrelations between media theory, the history of science, and late nineteenth and early twentieth-century German and Austrian literature and culture. He is one of the founding members of the “Post-Hermeneutical Reading Group” in New York City, which is supported by the Princeton Interdisciplinary Program in the Humanities and NYU’s Information Futures. Tyler’s work has additionally been supported by Columbia University’s Whiting Fellowship and the DAAD.
His current book project, tentatively titled Spaces of the Ear, explores the cultural history of listening across the domains of literature, technology, and the experimental sciences from 1870 to 1930. The book juxtaposes literary works by Peter Altenberg, Robert Musil, and Franz Kafka with contemporaneous media technologies and non-literary discourse on modern mechanized warfare, urban noise, otological disorders, noise abatement, auditory self-observation and acoustic surveillance. Both literary and non-literary representations of sound and hearing are analyzed through the common thread of auditory embodiment, thereby revising dominant narratives within the historiography of the senses which tend to privilege the disembodied voices of the phonograph, telephone, and radio as true markers of acoustical modernity.
Other current and future projects include work on acoustic space, radio and the transition to sound cinema, Hörbilder, ‘stereoscopic travel’ in the nineteenth century, as well as changing models of literary and scientific experimentation from German naturalism to modernism.