For a conference to be held 29 April – 1 May 2014 at Gregynog Hall, Wales, UK.
This conference will explore the relationship between newspapers and society during times of war. It is organised by the Leverhulme Trust funded British Press in World War Two project and the Centre for Media History, Aberystwyth University. The conference will have an international perspective, and focus on the importance of newspapers as objects of historical enquiry in their social contexts.
Newspapers have a fundamental role in societies at war. They relay the experience of war, provide a means for the state to communicate to the population directly, and serve to entertain readers. However, little attention has been paid to the dynamics of their production, circulation and reception during wartime and how the wider context of war affects those processes. In what ways does the circuit of communication between the press and its readers change during wartime? How is newspaper content altered as a result of wartime restrictions? How is news sourced? How do newspapers balance their commercial interests and the purpose of informing readers, using restricted resources? How do newspapers interact with the wider culture of wartime societies?
The conference also invites papers that address methodological issues relating to the use of newspapers in historical inquiry. Historical studies of wartime home fronts have tended to forgo the complexity of newspapers and use them illustratively, rather than systemically examining their content. We therefore welcome papers that critically engage with the newspaper as an historical object. Approaches might include quantitative and qualitative studies of content, or analysis of how newspapers were read and understood by their audiences.
We welcome proposals from a range of geographical and methodological backgrounds. Whilst the conference will be weighted towards the period 1914-1945, we also invite contributions which approach the theme from wider chronological perspectives. Abstracts of around 200 words for papers of between 20 to 25 minutes duration should be sent by close of business on 1 July 2013.
Enquiries can be directed to one or more of the following:
Dr Siân Nicholas, Department of History and Welsh History, Aberystwyth University
Professor Tom O’Malley, Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies, Aberystwyth University
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