I wrote much of this essay while at the Cornell University Society for the Humanities during the year on “Sound: Culture, Theory, Practice, Politics”; thanks to everyone there for his or her excellent feedback and support. Steven Shaviro and Bernard Geoghegan provided needed comments and encouragement. Phoebe Sengers, Tim Murray, María Fernández, and Tarleton Gillespie shepherded the project in its early stages. An anonymous reviewer helped tighten my argument. Earlier versions were presented at the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts (SLSA), the Stevens Institute of Technology, the Pratt Institute, SUNY Buffalo, and Wellesley College. Claudia Pederson has been there since the beginning.