A conference at Trinity College Dublin, 19-21 April 2011
The 4th biennial Media History conference will focus on the ways in which people have understood the social, cultural and political roles of the media over the past five centuries. The concept of ‘the media’ will be interpreted broadly, so as to include newspapers, magazines and one-off publications which included news and information, as well as manuscript, aural, visual, and broadcast and other electronic sources.
A great deal of work has been done by scholars on the institutional, political and cultural history of various forms of media. ‘Perception, Reception and Deception’ will build on this literature to explore the ways in which print, manuscript, visual representations and the broadcast media have been understood, conceptualised, and imaginatively represented in the societies in which they were produced. It will, in other words, focus not on media production but on the reception, depiction and perception of the media by individuals and groups of individuals in a variety of different contexts over time.
How have readers, consumers, and the industry itself framed arguments about the media as a force for good (or evil) at different points in time? Have contemporaries always seen the media as an agent of change, or is there a counter-history of the media to be written in terms of promoting conservatism, deference and order?
How have people understood and represented the media in terms of concepts of personal and geographical space, time and changing belief systems? Can we think ‘internationally’ about the similarities and differences between perceptions of the media in different states and nations over time, or is the media still best understood and examined in largely local or regional contexts?
How, in short, have men and women answered in different contexts the apparently simple questions, ‘what is the media, and what is it for?’
Proposals are welcome from a range of chronological, geographical and methodological backgrounds.
Abstracts, of no more than 200 words for papers of between 20 to 25 minutes duration, should be sent by close of business on 30 September 2010 to Mediahistory2011@gmail.com
Dr Jason McElligott, Dr Sian Nicholas or Professor Tom O'Malley
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