Carter, Samuel: Travel Grant - 2017-2018

College of Arts and Sciences
Romance Studies
Project Title: 
Listening to the lustrabotas: Noise and the Nation in Argentina
Project Abstract: 
My research investigates how literary forms and figures in Argentina responded to the arrival of the early sound reproduction technologies that ended print’s monopoly on the reproduction and transmission of language. Recognizing that cultural context determines the meanings and uses that cluster around such technologies, I will research a specific figure in early 20th-century Buenos Aires: the lustrabotas or shoe-shiner whose labor was often accompanied by a hand-cranked gramophone playing nearby. These inhabitants of a burgeoning metropolis not only shaped the soundscape but also embodied processes such as immigration and urbanization that were responsible for transforming the city. By fleshing out a fuller portrait of lustrabotas through archival work in key research centers—including the Biblioteca Nacional and the Archivo General de la Nación—I will be able to materially ground my writing about broader symbolic categories like “noise” and the discourses surrounding them.