Crossing Borders: Researching Transnational Media History
International Communication Association Preconference
Fukuoka, Japan, June 9, 2016
Sponsor: ICA Communication History Division
Co-Sponsor: ECREA Communication History Section
Organizers: Nelson Ribeiro and David Park
Media history has frequently been tied to the nation-state. This ICA pre-conference is dedicated to considering the history of media that operates across national borders. Indeed, communication has long been a central theme in historical schools of thought that stress the networked and interdependent nature of both the ancient and modern worlds. As such, we welcome papers on a wide array of historically grounded themes that explore transnational communication.
Submissions to this pre-conference are invited to consider the full breadth of transnational communication in history. States, businesses, commercial networks, and other institutions have long been preoccupied with managing the flow of communication across borders. These patterns raise numerous questions regarding the institutions connected to these flows, the messages they circulate, and the audiences they reach. More specifically, the pre-conference will be structured around three themes:
• Histories of transnational media organizations. Different technologies and media have been used to spread information and ideas across the borders. States and the Catholic Church were among the first institutions to understand the importance of having access to information produced abroad and to spread their own messages in different geographies. In modern times, transnational communication played a central role in disseminating political and religious ideals along with business information, thus contributing to early processes of globalization. Although several newspapers in the late 19th century were already operating internationally, in the 20th century the phenomenon of transnational communication became even more prevalent as media organizations played a central role in international propaganda and public diplomacy. The BBC, Voice of America, Radio Beijing, Radio Moscow, and Radio Tokyo are just a few examples that come to mind.
• Histories of transnational media content. Along with transnational media organizations, the content and form of media have never truly been hemmed in by national borders either, as genres, narratives, and franchises have circulated regionally and globally, contributing to hybrid cultural identities. British literature and U.S. music, film, and television serials are obvious examples but many others could be cited, namely Indian cinema, Japanese animation and videogames, and Brazilian telenovelas. After World War II, the circulation of transnational media content also became a major issue in the context of the Cold War leading to the creation, in Europe and Asia, of international organizations that promoted the exchange of television content among its members.
• Histories of transnational audiences. As is the case with the internet today, in earlier times newspapers, broadcasting, musical recordings, and video tapes were used to reach transnational audiences and create diasporic communities, a phenomenon of particular importance in the context of empire. Developing our understanding of how audiences received media content produced in different cultural contexts can expand our knowledge of how transnational networks operate and how communication technologies facilitate (or resist) these flows.
Abstracts of 300 words (maximum) should be submitted no later than 30 November 2015. Proposals for full panels are also welcome: these should include a 250-word abstract for each individual presentation, and a 200-word rationale for the panel. Send abstracts to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Authors will be informed regarding acceptance/rejection for the preconference no later than 10 January 2016. Full papers will need to be submitted no later than 30 May 2016 as these will be posted online and made available to all those participating in the preconference.