Michael Hedges

Michael Hedges


I joined the University of Leeds in October 2020. My research is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council through the White Rose College of the Arts and Humanities. I am based in the School of Fine Art, History of Arts and Cultural Studies; though I work closely with the School of English.

My research concerns sound technology in contemporary fiction. I am looking at novelists including Richard Powers, Jennifer Egan and Paul Beatty to examine recorded music’s political ecology (or how recordings are made, what they are made of and how they are disposed of). I argue that their work articulates anxieties about recorded music's eventual decay by engaging with its troubling manufacture, carbon footprint and difficult disposal: what is known as its political ecology.

I contend that the fictional representation of mediated listening experiences reveals the terror and wonder of recordings in ways that have not been explored. This representation is cruical if we are to become more responsible consumers of recordings.

Research interests

  • Sound studies
  • Environmental humanities
  • Narrative theory
  • 20th and 21st Century US fiction


Hedges, M. 2020. Infinite Jest: how David Foster Wallace’s classic nineties novel foreshadowed the Year of Zoom. The Conversation. [Online]. [Accessed 22 October 2020]. Available from: https://theconversation.com/infinite-jest-how-david-foster-wallaces-classic-nineties-novel-foreshadowed-the-year-of-zoom-147781

Hedges, M. 2019. The sounds of silence: marginal voices and the auditory in Carpentaria and Midnight's Children. Journal of Early Career Researchers for Humanities and Social Sciences. Ben Clark Special Issue. [Online]. [Accessed 11 November 2019]. Available from: https://crossingbordersjournal.com/special_issue

Conferences and performances:

Hedges, M. 2021. Laps, loops and landscape: a work in video and sound after Timothy Morton [PowerPoint presentation]. Practice, Process, and Environmental Crisis. 19 February, University of York [Virtual due to COVID-19].

Hedges, M. 2020. The end of the song has already happened: the political ecology of pauses in Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Good Squad [PowerPoint presentation]. Sound Instruments and Sonic Cultures. 14-18 December, National Science and Media Museum, Bradford [Virtual due to COVID-19].

Hedges, M. 2019. Modulation by Richard Powers: data compression, prose and digital sound [PowerPoint presentation]. More Than Meets The Ear: Sound & Short Fiction. 19-21 September, University of Vienna [Supported by the FR Leavis Fund].

Hedges, M. 2019. Richard Powers: recorded sound, data, error and the novel [PowerPoint presentation]. Postgraduate Summer Forum – POWER. 19 June, University of York.

Hedges, M. 2019. The sounds of silence: marginal voices and the auditory in Carpentaria and Midnight's Children [PowerPoint presentation]. Centre for Modern Studies Postgraduate Forum - Subjectivity and Sovereignty: Tracing the Modern through Time and Space. 28 May, University of York.

Power, P. and Hedges, M. 2017. Harp Duet. [Poetry and sound]. At: Wakefield Literature Festival, 1 October.

Power, P., Akam, D., Power, G. and Hedges, M. 2017. Christl. [Sculpture, video and sound]. At: C-Art Festival: Extraordinary Places, September 9-17.


  • MA English Literary Studies, University of York, 2019 (Distinction)
  • BA English Language and Literature, University of Sheffield, 2014 (First-Class Honours)