Archival Traces of Applied Research VIKTORIA TKACZYK
This article discusses gramophone recordings made in the 1920s at the Lautabteilung (“sound department”) of the Prussian State Library, under the direction of the language teacher and phonetician Wilhelm Doegen. Doegen’s Lautabteilung attempted to combine the potential of a scholarly sound collection with that of an acoustic laboratory, appropriating the gramophone as a research technology able to unite multiple disciplines in the humanities and sciences. Two projects at the department, one in applied linguistics (led by Theodor Siebs) and one in applied psychology (led by Fritz Giese), reveal regulative and thus application-oriented agendas in German language use and labor policy. These projects marked an important shift from earlier visions of scientific sound archives, motivated by a historicist desire for exhaustiveness and serving the purposes of analysis, toward an understanding of sound archiving as a political technology.