UHV professor writes book about the theory of vinyl records

Jeffrey Di Leo, a University of Houston-Victoria professor of English and philosophy, grew up around juke boxes and vinyl records, and of course, searching for the perfect vinyl record to add to his collection.

Jeffrey Di Leo

His longtime interest in the history and cultural phenomenon of the record helped him to write a book about the intersection of vinyl records, philosophy and critical theory called “Vinyl Theory,” which was published in March by Lever Press.

“I am excited to help spark a conversation about critical theory and the vinyl record,” Di Leo said. “In a time when music is all digital, people are again interested in this method of recording, and I look forward to being a part of the early conversation about the resurgence of vinyl records.”

“Vinyl Theory” opens with Di Leo sharing reflections on his youth, his interest in vinyl records and how his music collection shape-shifted throughout the years. Record stores began to disappear after music jumped to digital and became available to download, he said. But several years ago, the vinyl record began making a cultural comeback.

“It was interesting to see something like vinyl inch back onto the stage,” Di Leo said. “People began collecting again, and new artists began releasing vinyl LPs, too.”

Di Leo’s book dives into the argument that several paths have led to the vinyl record’s fall and resurrection in popularity, with reasons including the resiliency of neoliberalism, an extreme version of market capitalism; the phonographic record and the listening habits of people; the argument of the role of sound control in social and political power; and Di Leo’s argument about theoretical sell outs.

Beverly Tomek

In addition to “Vinyl Theory,” Di Leo has written about 30 books. He also is the editor of the American Book Review.

“Dr. Di Leo’s scholarship has always been on the cutting edge of humanities, and this project adds a new dimension to his already impressive list of books,” said Beverly Tomek, interim dean of the UHV School of Arts & Sciences.

“Vinyl Theory” is available for download through Lever Press, and available to purchase through Amazon, Target and Barnes & Noble.

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.

Amber Aldaco