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Shawn VanCour

Associate Professor
Shawn VanCour, Associate Professor in the Department of Information Studies
Shawn VanCour

GSE&IS 229
300 North Charles E. Young Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1521

Shawn VanCour
Associate Professor

Shawn VanCour’s research explores the industrial, technological, and aesthetic histories of U.S. radio and television, their relationships with neighboring sound and screen media, and their transformations in the digital era. His first book, Making Radio: Early Radio Production and the Rise of Modern Sound Culture, traces the development of dominant production practices and performance styles for early U.S. radio and their impact on adjacent fields of film and music recording. He is currently working on a second book on the professionalization of below-the-line production workers during U.S. television’s initial postwar expansion period. His scholarship has appeared in Media, Culture & Society, Critical Studies in Media Communication, Journal of Material Culture, Modernist Cultures, Journal of Radio & Audio Media, and various anthologies, as well as online forums such as Sounding Out!, Flow: A Critical Forum on Television & Media Culture, and Antenna: Responses to Media and Culture. He also serves as Assistant Director of the Library of Congress’s Radio Preservation Task Force, working with archives throughout the country to improve preservation and access to historical audio materials.  Regular courses include IS 30: Internet & Society, IS 281: Historiographical Methods, IS 289: Theory & Politics of Collecting, IS 480: Introduction to Media Archival Studies, IS 484: Sound Technologies & Society, and IS 291C: Theories of Technology.



  • Ph.D., Communication Arts, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • M.A., Communication Arts, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Teaching and Research Interests

  • Media history and preservation
  • Critical historiographical methods
  • Media and cultural theory
  • Media industries and media labor

Select Publications

  • “Radio and Sound Studies,” in Oxford Bibliographies in Cinema and Media Studies, ed. Krin Gabbard (Oxford University Press, 2019)
  • Making Radio: Early Radio Production and the Rise of Modern Sound Culture (Oxford University Press, 2018); also available through Oxford Scholarship Online
  • “Watching Radio: Early Newsfilm Collections as Alternative Radio Archives,” chapter in Rediscovering U.S. Newsfilm: Cinema, Television, and the Archive, ed. Mark Garrett Cooper, Sara Beth Levavy, Ross Melnick, and Mark Williams (AFI, 2018)
  • “Inventing American Broadcasting,” chapter in A Companion to the History of American Broadcasting, ed. Aniko Bodroghkozy (Wiley-Blackwell, 2018)