Media History Seminar Programme 2018/2019

We’re pleased to announce the schedule for this year’s Media History Seminar, jointly run by the Institute of English Studies and Institute of Historical Research. The seminars will take place at Senate House starting at 6pm. Everyone is welcome.

“Media History” Programme 2018-19

Session 1 (20 November 2018): Clare Pettitt, King’s College London

Serial Revolutions: Why 1848 Matters

Stuttering, scattered and various in their outcomes, a series of revolutions erupted in the mid to late 1840s which reached from the Atlantic to Ukraine, from the Baltic to the Mediterranean.  By 1851 most of these revolutions had ‘failed’ and Karl Marx was famously to announce in the Eighteenth Brumaire that the people were now “transferred back to a dead epoch.” But rather than just a brief period of international volatility and rebellion which collapsed, failed and capitulated to the reactionary forces of the counter-revolution, 1848 was a game-changer. The problem was that nobody was quite sure what the game had changed into.

It was the increasingly dominant cultural form of seriality that both created the revolutions in the first place, and that ensured the eventual consolidation of many of the demands of the people.  Without cheap print and a joined-up transnational media, the revolutions would never have happened the way they did. And without the 1848 revolutions, the American Civil War might not have happened the way that it did. This paper makes a case for the under-recognised importance of 1848, and for the importance of seriality, in establishing a transnational language of human rights.

NOTE: The venue for this talk has changed from Senate House to nearby Meeting Room 3A, Garden Halls, 1 Cartwright Gardens, Kings Cross, London WC1H 9EN.

Session 2 (4 December 2018):  Aled Jones, Panteion University, and Luke McKernan, British Library

Collecting Media in National Libraries

Aled Jones, ‘Periodical Collections, Austerity and Grassroots Action: A Greek Example’.

Aled Gruffydd Jones will describe recent attempts to preserve and conserve periodical publications through periods of occupation, civil war, dictatorship and financial hardship in Greece, and will discuss their potential implications for the conduct of archival preservation and research in the Humanities in times of austerity and crisis more generally.

Luke McKernan, ‘Collecting News’.

Luke McKernan will talk about how the British Library is managing the transition from collecting newspapers to collecting news, covering traditional newspapers, their e-versions, web news, radio and television news. He will explore what this means in terms of collection, discovery, access and research.

Room 246, Second Floor, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

Session 3 (5 February 2019): Evanghelia Stead, Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en Yvelines 

The Periodical Press: A View from France

‘Media Culture and the Periodical Press: Raising a few Points on Methodological Issues’

Prof. Stead will talk about how to think about periodicals in the overall media culture. Are periodicals a field per se? What is the part they play in media? She will draw on examples from “big” magazines following her Faust I research, look towards the collective volume on Reading Books and Prints as Cultural Objects (Palgrave, 2018), what she Hélène Védrine and I have tried to do around periodicals in l’Europe des revues I and II (2008 and 2018), and discussions in the inter-university TIGRE seminar, which Prof. Stead has been running since 2004.

NOTE: The February 2019 meeting location has changed to King’s College London, Room 6.01, Virginia Woolf Bldg, 22 Kingsway, London WC2B 6LE (map)

Session 4 (12 March 2019): Andrew Thacker, Nottingham Trent University, and Andrew King, University of Greenwich

Editing Reference Works on Print Media.

Andrew Thacker,  ‘The Magazines of Modernism: Challenges and Perspectives’

This talk will address some of the issues that came up when editing the original 3 volumes of the Critical and Cultural Histories, particularly around selection of magazines, periodisation, scope, and the organisation of the volumes overall; also about the next series of volumes, on Global Modernist Magazines, the work for the first volume of which (on magazines in South America and the Caribbean) is nearing completion.

Andrew King, ‘Switching: Creating Reference Works for Nineteenth-Century Serials’

When we consult a reference work instrumentally, we want help to find something we think might exist. The text, however discursive it may appear, is usually organised as a set of categories that lead from the more general to the more precise, and the reader is encouraged by a hierarchy of “switches” or choices to find what she wants. The question that we must address concerns how the reader uses the switches we supply: do we, as initiators of reference works, want the user simply to accept them by making them invisible and effortless, or do we want to highlight the difficulties that each switch actually involves and ask the reader whether the answers she is searching for might result from a casual assumption of the deja connu? Must we choose ourselves choose the switch between rapid but problematic positivism and hesitant, clunky theory, or is there a way to combine them? The talk explores these questions by first discussing the standard reference works on nineteenth-century serials and then outlining the processes that went into the creation of The Routledge Handbook to Nineteenth-Century British Periodicals and Newspapers, its companion volume Researching the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Press: Case Studies and the as-yet-under-construction Work and the Victorian Press and BLT10.co.uk.

NOTE: The March 2019 meeting location has changed to King’s College London, Room 6.01, Virginia Woolf Bldg, 22 Kingsway, London WC2B 6LE (map)

This seminar is generously supported by the Media History journal, Queen Mary University of London’s English Department, the Institute of English Studies, and the Institute of Historical Research.