Dr Emily Oliver, University of Warwick
Broadcasting Nations: A History of the BBC German Service (1938-1945)
Broadcasting Nations offers the first full study of the BBC German Service and its contribution to twentieth-century Anglo-German relations, from its hasty creation during the Munich Crisis in 1938 to its closure in 1999. Drawing on sources from the BBC Written Archives Centre and the German Broadcasting Archive (Frankfurt), unpublished Foreign Office records, and personal testimony, this project investigates what the BBC German service can tell us about Anglo-German cultural perceptions through Germany’s political evolution in the later twentieth century, from war to occupation, division, and eventual reunification.
Operating as part of the Political Warfare Executive during World War II, the BBC German Service continued to rely on funding from the Foreign Office after 1945 – a structural dependence which was at odds with its claims to impartiality. One of the project’s recurring concerns is therefore to investigate to what extent the BBC GS resisted or acquiesced to becoming a vehicle for the “projection of Britain” in its transition from wartime to peacetime broadcasting. Another is to examine how the BBC’s institutional models and journalistic practices shaped the media of the Federal Republic, and to investigate the German East Zone Service, created in 1950 in an attempt to reach listeners on the other side of the Iron Curtain.
There exists to date no detailed history of the BBC German Service. Scholarly attention has focused mainly on its role during the Second World War, but research on postwar reconstruction, the Cold War, and subsequent periods is sparse. Working across the disciplines of German, media studies, and cultural history, Broadcasting Nations seeks to fill this gap in scholarship by examining British cultural and political attitudes towards the German-speaking world through the phenomenon of a specialised foreign language radio service.
Emily Oliver is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures at the University of Warwick (UK). Her research focuses on Anglo-German cultural relations in the twentieth century. After gaining a PhD at the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon, she worked as Postdoctoral Research Associate at King’s College London on the project “Beyond Enemy Lines: Literature and Film in the British and American Zones of Occupied Germany”. She is currently heading the research project “Broadcasting Nations: A History of the BBC German Service (1938-1999)”. Her monograph, Shakespeare and German Reunification is published by Peter Lang (2017).
Dr Oliver Elliott, Independent Scholar
American Press Coverage of South Korean rule, 1945 – 1954
My project is based on my recently completed PhD at the London School of Economics where I looked at American press coverage of the rise of authoritarian rule in South Korea between 1945 and 1954, during the period of the American occupation government and the first six years of the Syngman Rhee regime. It provides the first ever scholarly account of American press coverage of the emergence and political development of South Korea after World War Two and asks why the increasingly undemocratic and repressive nature of both the American occupation and the Syngman Rhee regime during the Korean War did not become more controversial news stories in the United States. Contrary to claims in the existing literature, the manuscript shows how years of campaigning by liberal foreign correspondents to raise awareness of the problem of authoritarianism in South Korea broke into the mainstream just months before the onset of the Korean War. However, when war came in June 1950, the press rapidly abandoned its scrutiny of South Korean democracy, marking a crucial transition moment from the era of postwar idealism to the Cold War norm of support for America’s authoritarian allies. The thesis argues that five main factors influenced this coverage: anti-Korean and Cold War press narratives, the deference of American journalists to political and military authorities, the constraints placed on reporting by U.S. military authorities, the public relations activities of the Syngman Rhee regime and the low level of U.S. political interest in Korea. This project is envisioned as the first in a series of works tracing how the American press dealt with the problem of reporting on authoritarian allies during the Cold War.
Oliver Elliott is currently an independent scholar based in Barcelona. He finished his PhD entitled ‘The American Press, the Cold War and the Rise of Authoritarianism in South Korea 1945-1954’ at the London School of Economics in early 2017 and will be publishing a book based on his thesis with Palgrave Macmillan next year. Elliott previously worked as an analyst for the British government’s media monitoring unit and in an editorial role for the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
Rachel Grant, University of Missouri
In Self-Defense: Black Female Journalists, Media Activism & the Rosa Lee Ingram Case
In January 1948, Rosa Lee Ingram, a recently widowed Black sharecropper and her two sons were convicted and sentenced to death for the November 1947 death of her white neighbor John Ethan Stratford. This violent dispute shook the race-dynamics in Georgia and transformed into the post-World War II global debate of human rights through the perspective of Black women’s experiences. Black newspapers joined the fight and publicized the Ingram case. This study will examine the Rosa Lee Ingram and the media activism used by Black women to advocated for themselves. Ingram’s case addressed intersectional issues of race, gender and class because of the multi-levels of her oppression. Scholars Dayo Gore and Sarah Haley stated the social justice campaign made Ingram into a symbolic figure and pushed Black women’s experiences with sexualized racial violence to the center of debate.
For Black women activists, the Ingram case signaled a shift in the narrative of Black women’s experiences. Black female journalists were primed to be at the forefront of the coverage of the case because it was more than just a story for them, but served a touchstone to their daily lived-experiences. The media writings and campaigns about the Ingram case were examined to explore the media discourses as they evolved over time. How did color line rhetoric turn into human rights or intersectional language? What was the role of the media, specifically Black female journalists? Historian Marable Manning stated Blacks in the post-war period were both anti-racist and anti-integrationist, in a sense they opposed Jim Crow, but advocated for all Black economic, political and social liberation. Scholars stated after World War II, a questioning of racial hierarchies and identities challenged both Blacks and whites. This study uncovers the history of Black women’s media activism prior to the Civil Rights Movement.
Rachel Grant is a doctoral candidate at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. Her research focuses on media studies of race, gender and class, specifically focusing on social movements and Black female journalists.
Nathaniel Hearn, University of New Orleans
Subliminal Messaging in Olympia as Propaganda
This paper focuses on several scenes of the nearly four hour long 1938 film. Through analysis of the film, Hearn has picked key examples of subtle propaganda of the Third Reich. This paper focuses on the German athlete, Nazi officials and soldiers pictured in the film, and the directing style of Leni Riefenstahl. Riefenstahl was chosen specifically by Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels to be the director of the Reich’s propaganda films. Since her job was to produce these types of films, it would almost seem obvious that Olympia would fall under the propaganda category. Though Riefenstahl insisted the film was meant to be a documentary, there is contrary footage to her claim that makes this film propaganda. This paper has been a work in progress for the last two and a half years. It has been read and reviewed by Dr. Russell Hart of Hawai’i Pacific University, Dr. Bess Dawson Contreras of the University of Kentucky, and the late Dr. David Culbert of Louisiana State University.
Nathaniel Hearn is a graduate teaching assistant at the University of New Orleans under Dr. Allan Millett, Ambrose Professor of History. Hearn holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in history, with minors in German and vocal performance, from Louisiana State University. His current interest is World War II military history and Nazi propaganda. Hearn studied under Dr. David Culbert in his last full calendar year at LSU. Dr. Culbert expanded Hearn’s interest and work with Nazi propaganda, along with being a close personal friend and mentor.
Richard Legay, University of Luxembourg
My research focuses on a transnational and transmedia history of Radio Luxembourg/RTL and Europe n°1 in popular culture and listening practices in Great-Britain, France, Germany, Luxembourg and Belgium in the larger 1960s. These two commercial radio stations were popular with the growing European youth in the Sixties and were key actors in popular culture, but they are still understudied. To tackle the research, I have decided to focus on five different approaches. The first will be an attempt at reconstructing the radio soundscape by analysing available audio documents from the stations, gathered in national, private and personal archives, from the different countries. The second approach will be dealing with a more human perspective, by focusing on the people behind the mic, as DJs and radio hosts were essential actors of the stations, while the third approach will be concerned with listeners. They are the other end of the broadcasting experience and it seems particularly relevant to analyse the rituals, practices and experiences of listening to commercial radio stations in the Sixties. Another approach will be transmediality, as Radio Luxembourg and Europe n°1 were both involved in the publication of youth magazines, an aspect that adds visual and textual elements to their identities and the ways they were perceived and consumed. The last method will deal with a broader audiovisual system in Europe that includes the two commercial radio stations. This will look at exchanges, relationships and networks with other institutions to fully comprehend the transnational aspects of this research, which help question the unification of popular culture in Western Europe in the post-war period. Overall, the idea is to bring a new perspective to this area of inquiry by embracing the two challenging aspects that are transnationality and transmediality.
Richard Legay is a PhD candidate at the C²DH , the Center for Contemporary and Digital History, at the University of Luxembourg, where he has been writing his thesis under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Andreas Fickers since November 2016. Legay’s main field of interest is Media History, specifically Radio with a strong focus on transnationality and transmediality. His other interests lie in the Digital Humanities and in Public History. Alongside his research, Legay is teaching a module on Digital Public History for Bachelor students as well as supervising and counselling Master students in History during the writing process of their thesis. Legay is also curator for an exhibition on May 1968 at the Neumünster Abbey in Luxembourg City, opening in 2018 and part of the organisation team for a conference series and a summer school in Radio History and Cultural Heritage in collaboration with the C²DH and the Minister for Culture in Saarland. Legay obtained his Master’s degree in European Contemporary History at the University of Luxembourg in 2015 and graduated from Trinity College Dublin in 2016 with an M.Phil in Public History and Cultural Heritage.