Isles of Noise

Sonic Media in the Caribbean

By Alejandra M. Bronfman

236 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 9 halftones, notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-2869-1
    Published: October 2016
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-3033-5
    Published: October 2016
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-2870-7
    Published: September 2016
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-5084-3
    Published: September 2016

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In this media history of the Caribbean, Alejandra Bronfman traces how technology, culture, and politics developed in a region that was "wired" earlier and more widely than many other parts of the Americas. Haiti, Cuba, and Jamaica acquired radio and broadcasting in the early stages of the global expansion of telecommunications technologies. Imperial histories helped forge these material connections through which the United States, Great Britain, and the islands created a virtual laboratory for experiments in audiopolitics and listening practices.

As radio became an established medium worldwide, it burgeoned in the Caribbean because the region was a hub for intense foreign and domestic commercial and military activities. Attending to everyday life, infrastructure, and sounded histories during the waxing of an American empire and the waning of British influence in the Caribbean, Bronfman does not allow the notion of empire to stand solely for domination. By the time of the Cold War, broadcasting had become a ubiquitous phenomenon that rendered sound and voice central to political mobilization in the Caribbean nations throwing off what remained of their imperial tethers.

About the Author

Alejandra Bronfman is associate professor of history at SUNY Albany and the author of Measures of Equality: Social Science, Citizenship, and Race in Cuba, 1902–1940.
For more information about Alejandra M. Bronfman, visit the Author Page.


“A thoroughly researched, highly original, and important contribution to Caribbean studies, American studies, and sound studies.”--New West Indian Guide

"Insightful and lively, Alejandra Bronfman's innovative study offers not just a regional history of broadcasting but makes important and wide-ranging connections as she traces the history of communications within an intricate network of histories of postcolonialism, trade, mining, regions, linguistics, gender, and labor. A welcome and richly productive contribution to understanding how modern media developed in different global contexts."--Kate Lacey, University of Sussex

"Focusing on the development and use of radio in Haiti, Cuba, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic during the early to mid-twentieth century, Isles of Noise is the first history to trace and analyze how this new technology shaped Caribbean realities--and how, reciprocally, Caribbean realities shaped radio. Prodigiously researched and richly interdisciplinary, Alejandra Bronfman's book revises the history of the region, radio, and a host of other subjects.  A major contribution."--Kate Ramsey, University of Miami

Multimedia & Links

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