Conference Program

Wednesday / September 16, 2015
Session 01: 7:15 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. / Winter Garden Restaurant – Hotel Papadopoli

The Opening Reception / Keynote Address
“What I Learned Studying the History of Communication in Venice”

Mario Infelise – Università Ca’ Foscari, Venice, Italy / Speaker

Dr. Mario Infelise is a professor of early modern history and the history of the book at the Università Ca’ Foscari in Venice. He has published several studies on the production and distribution of information – tracing the roots of the famous Venetian avvisi – as well as the book in modern Europe.

His first book was published in 1980 under the title I Remondini di Bassano: Stampa e industria nel Veneto del Settecento (The Remondini of Bassano: Print and Industry in the Eighteenth-century Veneto) and was based on his dissertation thesis (the second revised edition of the book was printed in 1990). In the meantime, he published countless articles in Italian, French, English and Spanish on the subjects of his research interest.

Among Dr. Infelise’s subsequent important book titles are Prima dei giornali: Alle origini della pubblica informazione (Before Newspapers: On the Origins of Public Information, 2005) and I libri proibiti: Da Gutenberg all’Encyclopédie (Forbidden Books: From Gutenberg to the Encyclopédie, 1999). His last volume was published in 2014 under the title I Padroni dei libri: Il controllo sulla stampa nella prima età moderna (The Masters of Books: The Control Over Print in the Early Modern Age). It follows the individual stories of the men who took control over the print industry shortly after its introduction in Venice in the 1460s and held it for the next two centuries. The author contrasts their interests with the aspirations of those who saw the book as one of the main vehicles for the promotion of libertarian ideals.

Dr. Infelise is known also as an inexhaustible organizer of international seminars, workshops and exhibitions. As an educator and current chair of the graduate history program at Università Ca’ Foscari, he mentored an entire generation of scholars who today continue pursuing research into early print and the circulation of information in the territories of Venice and within the Italian/European context in general.

Thursday / September 17, 2015
Session 02: 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. / Main Lecture Hall

 Communication History: Defining Our Objects of Inquiry / Panel Discussion

Pete Simonson – University of Colorado – Boulder, USA / Chair & Moderator
(intellectual history of communication; history of the field of communication; rhetoric)

  • James Hay – University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign, USA
    Towards a Historiography Suitable for a Critical Refrigerator Studies
    (media; space; liberalism; security society; history)
  • Yi Chen – University of Sussex – Brighton, United Kingdom
    A Rhythmanalytical Study of Communication History
    (cultural history; cultural theory)
  • Deborah Lubken – Independent Scholar – Philadelphia, USA
    Older Media: A Brazen Approach
    (media history; auditory culture)
  • Karen Barzman – Binghamton University, USA
    Maps in the Early Modern Archive: A Genealogy of Portable, Display-Based Devices in Data Management and Communications
    (visual culture; print culture; cartography)
  • Stefano Cristante – Università del Salento, Italy
    The Ancestor’s Body and Other Stories: The Social Sciences and the Far Past of Communication
    (theories and models)
  • Nella Lonza – Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts – Dubrovnik, Croatia
    The Ritual Executions of Penalties and the Criminal’s Body as Alternative Media of Communication in Medieval European Towns
    (law history; urban rituals; criminal justice history)

The provocative title of James Hay’s opening contribution challenges our notion of media, communication and information technology, arguing for a more inclusive approach. But an all-inclusive field would stop being a field at all. So where are the boundaries? Yi Chen is trying to stretch the limits of our imagination by calling for a rhythmanalytical approach to communication, a call that resonates with Deborah Lubken’s studies of the histories of urban bells in the context of social and cultural practices. Karen Barzman investigates ancient administrative maps from the Venetian archives, arguing that they reveal some of the earliest practices that we take for granted in today’s screen culture. The remaining two presentations have one common denominator – the human body as a medium: Stefano Cristante reads Homer through a MacLuhanian prism in order to elucidate the amazing expressive flexibility of the human body; and Nella Lonza investigates medieval penal rituals that conceive a criminal’s body as an alternative medium communicating specific messages.

Thursday / September 17, 2015
Session 03: 10:15 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. / Main Lecture Hall

Theoretical Models and the Current State of Communication History Research / Panel Discuss.

John Nerone – University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, USA / Chair & Moderator
(media history)

  • Laura Skouvig – University of Copenhagen, Denmark
    In the Gap: Information and Communication History
    (information history; genre theory; library history; Michel Foucault)
  • Anne K. Diekjobst – Universität Konstanz, Germany
    The Practice of Communication: Individual Addresses in the Late Middle Ages
    (medieval history)
    contribution co-authored with:
    Michael Hohlstein – Universität Konstanz, Germany
    (theoretical and methodological approaches; religious and monastic studies; ethics)
  • Peter Broks – Hereford College of Art, United Kingdom
    Conceptual Space: Rethinking Communication as Embodied Relationships
    (science communication; history; cultural studies)
  • Hans-Ulrich Wagner – Hans Bredow Institute for Media Research, Hamburg, Germany
    “Intervention” on Entanglements in Media History
    (media history; media memory; sound studies; public service media; transnational media history)
    contribution co-authored with:
    Marie Cronqvist – Lund University, Sweden
    (television history; journalism studies; Cold War culture)
    Hugh Chignell – Bournemouth University, Poole, United Kingdom(radio history; media history; archives)Maike Helmers – Bournemouth University, Poole, United Kingdom
    (media history; sound design)
  • Balázs Sipos – Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary
    How to Use Models to Examine the East-European Non-Democratic Media Systems in the 20th century
    (new cultural history; popular culture; Americanization; media systems; journalism; gender history)
  • Carlos Barrera – Universidad de Navarra, Pamplona, Spain
    Communication History, the Social Sciences and the Humanities: Insights from a Journal Editor
    (media history; media and politics; political communication)

Grand theories or meta-narratives often have at their core information networks and communication technologies. To what extent are some old(er) as well as new emerging theoretical premises still applicable in historical inquiry? Investigating the co-existence of the official and subversive communication channels in absolutistic Denmark, Laura Skouvig examines to what extent Harold Innis’ notion of the bias of communication and genre theory help to illuminate the history of information. Anne Diekjobst and Michael Hohlstein apply Niklas Luhman’s theoretical framework in their attempt to shed light on social communicative situations that defined a nun in a medieval monastery. The focus of Peter Broks’s research is the history of popular science and proposes that we look at the way it was disseminated through the prism of embodied relationships or spaces that can be explored and policed. The international team of researchers led by Hans-Ulrich Wagner advocates the theory of entanglements as a conceptual framework that can transcend the limitations of media systems theories and captures the transmedial, transnational, and transcultural dimensions of communication. Similarly Balázs Sipos points out that even the relatively closed media systems of the former communist countries in Europe cannot be understood without taking into account the cross-border influence of the increasingly Americanized Western culture. Ultimately, Carlos Barrera will share with us his insight of the current ferment in the field of communication history research from the vantage point of a journal editor.

Thursday / September 17, 2015
Session 04: 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. / Main Lecture Hall

Plenary Session / Masterclass
“Bridges, Boundaries, Benchmarks: Putting the History of Communications on the Map”

Richard R. John – Columbia University, New York, USA / Speaker

Dr. Richard R. John is a professor of history and communications at the Columbia Journalism School, where he specializes in the history of business, technology, communications, and American political development. He teaches and advises graduate students in Columbia’s Ph.D. program in communications, and is member of the core faculty of the Columbia history department, where he teaches courses on the history of capitalism and the history of communications.

His publications include many essays, two edited books, and two monographs: Spreading the News: The American Postal System from Franklin to Morse (1995) and Network Nation: Inventing American Telecommunications (2010). He is the editor of the Business, Technology, and Politics (formerly Industry and Society) monograph book series sponsored by the Hagley Museum and Library and co-editor of a classroom book series on How Things Worked: Institutional Dimensions of the American Past (co-edited with Robin L. Einhorn). Both are published by Johns Hopkins University Press.

Dr. John has been a fellow at the Newberry Library in Chicago and the Smithsonian Institution’s Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C., and has twice served as a visiting professor at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Paris. Among the institutions that have sponsored his research are the College of William and Mary, the American Antiquarian Society, and the National Endowment of the Humanities, which awarded him a faculty fellowship in 2008. Spreading the News received several national awards, including the Allan Nevins Prize from the Society of American Historians and the Herman E. Krooss Prize from the Business History Conference. Network Nation won the first Ralph Gomory Book Prize from the Business History Conference and was the 2010 Best Book in Journalism and Mass Communication History, an award bestowed by the History Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC). Dr. John is a former president of the Business History Conference, an international professional society dedicated to the study of institutional history.

Between 1981 and 1989, Dr. John earned a B.A. in social studies, a M.A. in history and a Ph.D. in the history of American civilization, all from Harvard University.

Thursday / September 17, 2015
Session 05: 2:45 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. / Parallel Session – Seminar Room I

Neglected Dimension: Space and Place in Historical Communication Research / Panel Discuss.

Deryck W. Holdsworth – The Penn. State University, State College, USA / Chair & Moderator
(urban historical geography; sites of mercantile exchange; trade networks; counting-house knowledge)

  • Philip Lodge – Edinburgh Napier University, United Kingdom
    The Influence of Spatial Aspects on the Development of Communication Study in the United Kingdom
    (communication history and theory; organisations and institutionalism; intellectual history)
  • Yvonne Robel – University of Bremen, Germany
    Spatialization as a Part of Communication History
    (cultural history of 20th century; media history; media and memory; politics of remembrance)
  • Sabrina Corbellini – University of Groningen, The Netherlands
    Cities of Readers: A Spatial Approach to Late Medieval Religious Literacies
    (Late Middle Ages; Italy; history of reading)
    contribution co-authored with:
    Margriet Hoogvliet – University of Groningen, The Netherlands
    (Late Middle Ages; France; religious reading)
  • Simon Ganahl – University of Vienna, Austria
    Media of Sovereignty, Disciplinarity, and Control
    (communication history; media theory; German studies; French theory)
  • Christian Schwarzenegger – Universität Augsburg, Germany
    Locating the Whereabouts of History: Theoretical Reflections on the Place of Space in Communication History
    (communication history; mediatization; media change)
    contribution co-authored with:
    Anne Kaun – Södertörn University, Huddinge, Sweden
    (social and protest movements; digital/social media activism; audience studies; mediated citizenship; media memories)
  • Christian Oggolder – Institute for Comparative Media and Communication Studies – Vienna,   Austria
    Blurring Boundaries: Historical and Empirical Perspectives on the Relation of Physical and Virtual Space
    (media history; media change; early modern history)
    contribution co-authored with:
    Caroline Roth-Ebner – Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt, Austria
    (media and communication studies; digital media; mediatization; mediatized work)

Philip Lodge introduce this panel by arguing that time, space and place are invested with meanings which communication historiography has significantly underestimated, with misleading consequences. Yvonne Robel points out the processes of spatialization through which space is socially realized as part of our ongoing communicative construction of social reality. To underscore his point, Sabrina Corbellini and Margriet Hoogvliet present an outline of a classical study that identifies locales within medieval townscapes where religious knowledge was produced and exchanged. In his narrative topology Simon Ganahl analyzes one single day in the life of 1933 Vienna with the aim to figure out which forms of knowledge, relations of power, and modes of subjectivation dominated the mediated experiences of the period. Ultimately, the last two panelists ponder the implication that the new mediating technologies, with their increasing ability to annihilate distance and accelerate time, mean for our perception of space. Christian Schwarzenegger and Anne Kaun argue that from the perspective of a historian the digital representation of space should be seen as a continuity of our previous social experiences, while Christian Oggolder and Caroline Roth-Ebner point out the increasing integration of both physical and virtual spaces.

Thursday / September 17, 2015
Session 05: 2:45 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. / Parallel Session – Seminar Room II

Egodocuments and Other Primary Sources in the Age of Digitization / Panel Discussion

Rosa Salzberg – Warwick University, Coventry, United Kingdom / Chair & Moderator
(print culture; Renaissance Venice; urban history; migration and mobility)

  • Stephan Sander-Faes – University of Zurich, Switzerland
    ‘We Shall Lie All Alike in Our Graves’: Ego Documents and the Reconstruction of Renaissance Communication
    (Republic of Venice; Stato da mar; urban elites; Adriatic; Dalmatia; Renaissance)
  • Maria Rikitianskaia – Università della Svizzera Italiana, Lugano, Switzerland
    Communication History from Bellow: Finding “Ordinariness” in the Political Documents from the First World War
    (telecommunication history; wireless telegraphy; radio broadcasting)
  • Lars Lundgren – Södertörn University, Huddinge, Sweden
    Ethnography in the Archive: Travelogues, Truths and Television
    (television history; (post)socialist television; transnational history)
  • Davide Boerio – Università degli Studi di Teramo, Italy
    Early Modern Avvisi and Big Data
    (early modern history)
  • Diana Garrisi – University of Westminster, London, United Kingdom
    Will the Nineteenth Century Press Save the Future of Journalism?
    (Victorian newspapers; science communication; history of journalism; digital archives)

With the shift towards social and cultural histories, the researcher is increasingly pressured to find primary sources that would shed more light on the topographies of everyday life. Egodocuments such as diaries, travelogues, personal correspondence and memoirs play an increasingly central role in this effort. Stephan Sander-Faes searches for them in the provincial archives of the former Venetian maritime state in Zadar, Croatia, in order to capture the communication networks and spatial mobility of the social classes well beyond the traditionally studied and well-documented urban elites. Similarly Maria Rikitianskaia attempts to recreate the communication dynamics among ordinary soldiers during WWI by combining small fragments of surviving personal documents with official political and military reports. The archival materials collected in the 1960s by BBC television teams during their visits to foreign broadcasters are analyzed by Lars Lundgren as if they were mini-ethnographies that capture the dynamics of early TV broadcasting in a comparative perspective.

New technologies provide historians not only with new tools of analysis, but also democratize research by making archival collections accessible to a wider community of scholars. Yet, aside from of the obvious advantages, there are also notorious shortcomings in such an approach that conceal the material nature of the primary source with all its rich marginalia. Davide Boerio is part of the Medici Archive Project that digitizes 200,000 folios of handwritten newsletters collected by the famous Florentine family as of 1543, in order to create a large data pool that will shed light on the development of news networks in early modern Europe. The collection of 2 million 19th century newspapers digitized by British Library is the focus of Diana Garrisi who addresses the question of how to read the media of the past while using that of the present.

Thursday / September 17, 2015
Session 06: 4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. / Main Lecture Hall

 Public Sphere I: Old and New Challenges for Public Sphere Research / Panel Discussion

Susanne Kinnebrock – Universität Augsburg, Germany / Chair & Moderator
(history of journalism; media history in Central Europe; communication history of social movements)

Elihu Katz – U. of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA / The Hebrew U. of Jerusalem, Israel / Guest of Honor

  • Jeff Pooley – Muhlenberg College, Allentown, Pennsylvania, USA
    The Collective Behavior Tradition in Chicago Sociology and the History of the Public
    (history of communication; history of communication research; history of social science)
    contribution co-authored with:
    Deborah Lubken – Independent Scholar – Philadelphia, USA
    (media history; auditory culture)
  • Francescomaria Evangelisti – Independent Researcher – Rome, Italy
    The Propaganda History Bridges
    (propaganda history)
  • Miguel Vazquez Liñan – Universidad de Sevilla, Spain
    Historical Memory, Media And Mediation
    (historical memory; propaganda history and theory; cultural industry; Russian media and politics)
    contribution co-authored with:
    Custodio Velasco Mesa – Universidad de Sevilla, Spain
    (comparative analysis of discourse; revolutionary rhetoric)
  • Merja Ellefson – Umeå University, Sweden
    Questions of Place: Comparisons and Mediated History
    (press history; mediated memories; media and minorities)
  • Manuel Menke – Universität Augsburg, Germany
    Facts, Moods, and Memories: Respecting Nostalgia in Communication History
    (nostalgia; media change; media history; memory)
    contribution co-authored with:
    Ekaterina Kalinina – Södertörn University, Huddinge, Sweden
    (media memory; cultural studies; digital cultures)
  • Daniela Calanca – Università di Bologna, Italy
    New Media and Social Imaginaries in Contemporay Italy: Theories and Practices of Postsocial History
    (contemporary history)

Jeff Pooley, Deborah Lubken and Elihu Katz argue that some of the earliest theories of the formation of publics and public opinion are articulated in the works of the Chicago School sociologists – namely Robert Park who was strongly influenced by German, French and British thinkers. Defining itself against this intellectual tradition, later U.S. communication research had to “reinvent the wheel” and gradually adopted many of the original concepts without recognizing its Chicago debts. Reflecting Walter Lippmann’s skeptical views of the role that the early 20th century public sphere faced due to the increasingly sophisticated public relations machinery, Francescomaria Evangelisti suggests reading the history of public opinion through the lens of propaganda. He argues that this would allow us to look at organized and intentional communicative practices that build social imaginaries from an original angle. Miguel Vazquez Liñan and Custodio Velasco Mesa claim that to understand the national and transnational public spheres, communication history scholarship should include also studies of collective memory. Collective memories are also at the core of Merja Ellefson’s contribution, claiming that while memory is an individual agency, we tend to remember together – there is an important nexus between history, memory, place and media. Following the spirit of Raymond Williams’ structures of feeling, Manuel Menke and Ekaterina Kalinina are proposing to study also the history of nostalgia as a sequence of collective moods and mentalities that shape the constitutive processes through which such collective memories and identities are formed. Daniela Calanca inquires how the postsocial histories – with their new interpretations of the binaries public/private, subjective/objective, or visible/invisible – can capture the modern, collective social imaginary.

Friday / September 18, 2015
Session 07: 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. / Main Lecture Hall

Information Networks and the Rise of Modernity: Money, War, and God / Panel Discussion

Joad Raymond – Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom / Chair & Moderator
(sixteenth and seventeenth century news networks; pamphleteering; ephemeral print; John Milton)

  • Francisco Apellaniz – Université Paris 1 (Panthéon Sorbonne), France
    Mixed Networks in the Notarial Culture: The merchant communities of Damascus and Alexandria, 1300-1600

(history; Mediterranean; social networks; economic institutions)

  • Eric Dursteler – Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, USA
    Reconstructing Information Networks in the Early Modern Mediterranean
    (information history; genre theory; library history; Michel Foucault)
  • Steven G. Marks – Clemson University, South Carolina, USA
    The Information Nexus and the History of Capitalism
    (Russian history; world economic history)
  • Kathryn Montalbano – Columbia University, New York, USA
    Religious Networks as New Media: Communication Studies and the Challenge of the Sacred
    (communication history; religion; media and culture; media policy)
  • Paul Nelles – Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada
    Place, Mobility, and Materiality in Communicative Practice: The Case of the Society of Jesus (1540-1600)
    (mobility; materiality; scribal production; early modern Europe; Jesuits)
  • Javier Díaz Noci – Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona, Spain
    Early Modern History and Communication in Spanish Language: Production, Dissemination and Audiences
    (history of communication; history of journalism)
  • Massimo Petta – Independent Scholar, Italy
    From Mountebanks to Professional Reporters: The Printed News Pamphlets Between Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries
    (news pamphlets; printers; networks; sociology of the texts; Early Modern history)

We are in Venice, one of the centers of power of the early modern world that animated the communication network of the Mediterranean. The two opening presentations of this roundtable will help us envision its reach and inner workings: Francisco Apellaniz focuses on the collection of circa 2,000 documents produced by Venetian notaries in Alexandria, Damascus and Tripoli between 1340-1520, that attest both to the geographical scale and cultural variety of such information-gathering networks; Eric Dursteler studies the ways in which information was able to transcend the deepening cultural and political boundaries between Christendom and the Islamic world in the aftermath of the Battle of Lepanto (1571). Analyzing the subsequent developments of information-gathering techniques in the Netherlands and England, Steven G. Marks claims that Castells’ presentist understanding of the network society should be pushed back several centuries – as of the Late Medieval period the information-gathering networks played a key role in the emergence of capitalism. Yet merchants were not the only ones interested in networking the world. Religious organizations created their own networks that not only gathered, but also diffused the information. Kathryn Montalbano illustrates this phenomenon in the case of Franciscan monks who in the 13th century penetrated deep into Mongol territories in order to spread their faith; Paul Nelles studies the information networks created in the 16th century by the Jesuit missionaries in Asia, the New World, and throughout Europe. Such increased volumes of circulating information at some point gave birth to the modern periodical press: Javier Díaz Noci presents the first results of the Iberian Early Modern News project that analyzes Spanish-language newssheets published between 1597 and 1629 both in Europe and America, reconstructing the networks of their producers; and Massimo Petta focuses on networks that allowed Milanese printers at the end of the 16th century to gather information to print, giving it standardized formats that enabled readers to recognize such texts as news.

Friday / September 18, 2015
Session 08: 10:15 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. / Parallel Session – Seminar Room I

Communication Technologies I: Challenging the Notion of Print Revolution / Panel Discussion

Massimo Rospocher – Italian-German Historical Institute, Trento, Italy / Chair & Moderator
(political communication; propaganda; print; orality; early modern European history)

  • Christian Schwarzenegger – Universität Augsburg, Germany
    “Media and change” as an Emerging Area of Communication Studies and Bridge Between History and Communication?
    (communication history; mediatization; media change)
    contribution co-authored with:
    Susanne Kinnebrock – Universität Augsburg, Germany
    (history of journalism; media history in Central Europe; communication history of social movements)
  • Mark Brewin – The University of Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA
    The Rite vs. the Book: Communication History and Grand Narratives
    (political culture; communication and history)
  • Agnes (Iok Fong) Lam – University of Macau, China
    The Delayed Impact of the Gutenberg Storm: How did the Technology Discourse Conceptualize the Modern Chinese Press History?
    (media history)
  • Louise Vermeersch – Ghent University, Belgium
    Methodological Reflections on a Multimedial Approach to Early Modern Media
    (cultural history of the Low Countries; media practices; urban history)
  • Jürgen Wilke – Johannes Gutenberg-Universität, Mainz, Germany
    Theoretical Models in Historical News Flow Studies
    (comm. and media history; news selection and news agencies; political communication; international communication)

Christian Schwarzenegger and Susanne Kinnebrock see the connection between terms the media and change as one of the trending topics in current media research. But such studies, putting a direct link between social/cultural change and the emergence of a new medium, are often characterized by presentism and lacking proper historical context. Mark Brewin reminds us that the very advent of modernity was directly attributed to book print. Yet, he asks, if the print revolution thesis fails, what other social and cultural phenomena can account for making us “modern”? Agnes (Iok Fong) Lam similarly challenges the notions that Western modernity was ushered in by print, pointing out that the earliest block printed newspapers date back to the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907) and the idea of movable type emerged and was used in China already in the eleventh century. Yet she claims that the very notion of modernity in the West is technologically driven and thus not applicable to other philosophical systems of thought. Louise Vermeersch points out that the advent of print did not completely eliminate other forms of oral and visual communication such as preaching, images, songs and ritualized ceremonies. How can we define such multimediality (and intertextuality) that was facilitated by an urban context and turn it into an operative concept in the interdisciplinary study of media history? Finally Jürgen Wilke offers theoretical models that help analyze the types of places that played a dominant role in the early news exchange, as well as mental images of various spaces that such reports constructed in the heads of early readers.

Friday / September 18, 2015
Session 08: 10:15 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. / Parallel Session – Seminar Room II

Materiality Still Matters: Political Economies and Media Histories / Panel Discussion

Paschal Preston – Dublin City University, Ireland / Chair & Moderator
(history of mediated communication; comm. technology and society/culture; EU; journalism and news-making practices)

  • Nelson Ribeiro – Universidade Catolica Portuguesa, Lisbon, Portugal
    ‘New’ Media and Freedom of Speech
    (media history)
  • Brice Nixon – University of La Verne, California, USA
    Communication as Capital and the Exploitation of Audience Labor: A New Perspective on Communication History
    (political econ. of communication; comm. history; digital media; critical theory; journalism studies; comm. law and policy)
  • Steve Schiffers – City University, London, United Kingdom
    The Press as Black Mirror: Constructing Austerity and the Lessons of History
    (financial journalism; media and crises; history of journalism; trust in media)
    contribution co-authored with:
    Sophie Knowles – City University, London, United Kingdom
    (financial journalism; media and crises; history of journalism)
  • Marsha Siefert – Central European University, Budapest, Hungary
    Eurasian Empires and Telecommunication
    (empire; telecommunication; Eastern Europe; cultural Cold War; cultural diplomacy)
  • Michael Truscello – Mount Royal University, Calgary, Canada
    Considering the Internet as an Infrastructure Megaproject
    (infrastructure; politics; poetics; anarchism; materialism)
  • Francesca Musiani – Institut des sciences de la communication (CNRS) – Paris, France
    How Materiality Matters in Studies of Born-Digital Heritage
    (STS; Internet governance)
    contribution co-authored with:
    Valérie Schafer – Institut des sciences de la communication (CNRS) – Paris, France
    (web archives; Internet history; digital heritage)

By their very nature, media have a dematerializing effect on our perception of reality. Yet Nelson Ribeiro reminds us that any new medium is from the outset shaped by the social, political, and economic environments within which it is deployed. In order to make his point, he relies on Brian Winston’s law of the suppression of radical potential to illustrate how moneyed interests historically seized control of any new emerging communication technology. Relying on Marxist theories of human labor, Brice Nixon suggests a re-interpretation of the history of communication through the concept of audience labor. This approach works very well with Steve Schiffers’s and Sopie Knowles’ analysis of media coverage of financial crises, which sheds some light on the forces that lie behind the production and practices of financial journalism. Following Harold Innis’s pioneering work, Marsha Siefert examines early telegraph networks through which the competing Russian, Ottoman and Habsburg empires attempted to configure the Eurasian geopolitical space. Looking at the most recent two centuries of human history as an era of massive infrastructure building, Michael Truscello asks us to conceptualize networked communication as an engineering megaproject in order to shed new light on the relationship between its semiotic superstructure and its material form. The political-economic approach is clear also in Francesca Musiani’s and Valérie Schafer’s contribution that explores the multiple levels at which materiality matters to our understanding of web history.

Friday / September 18, 2015
Session 09: 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. / Main Lecture Hall

Plenary Session / Public Debate
“Reflecting on European Histories of Communication”

 Gabriele Balbi – Università della Svizzera Italiana, Lugano, Switzerland / Moderator
(media history, history of telecommunications)

 Peppino Ortoleva – Università degli Studi di Torino, Italy / Discussant

Prof. Ortoleva teaches media history and theory at the Università degli Studi di Torino. He has studied the history of media in contemporary world (see Mediastoria, 1995, Il secolo dei media, 2009), the role of media – and particularly of cinema – in historical research, (see particularly Cinema e storia, 1991), the history of social and political movements (see I movimenti del ’68 in Europa e in America, 1998).
He is currently working on a book project focusing on contemporary myths (Miti a bassa intensità, forthcoming) and on the relations between communication, play and games. His book titled Dal sesso al gioco (2012) is a first exploration in the field. For more than thirty years he has been a curator of museums and exhibitions in the fields of media history, political and cultural history.

 Andreas Fickers – Université du Luxembourg, Luxemburg / Discussant

Since September 2013 Dr. Fickers has worked at Université du Luxembourg with a special focus on epistemological and methodological issues concerning digital historiography. His scholarly ambition is to bridge theoretical and methodological approaches from various disciplines (especially from the history of technology, media and cultural studies) in order to further develop the idea of the cultural history of media technologies in the digital age. He is engaged in several European research networks, such as the Tensions of Europe network ( and the European Television History Network.
Dr. Fickers is Professor of Contemporary and Digital History at the Faculty of Language, Literature, Humanities, Arts, and Education at the Université du Luxembourg. He is interested in media technologies and their histories – especially in the context of radio and television.

Jérôme Bourdon – Tel Aviv University, Israel / Discussant

Dr. Bourdon is professor at the Department of Communications at Tel Aviv University and associate researcher at the Center for the Sociology of Innovation (ParisTech/CNRS) in Paris. He researches the global history of television, the relations between media and memory, the representation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the archeology of the Internet.
Recent books: Television Audiences Across the World. Deconstructing the Ratings Machine (co-edited with Cécile Méadel), Palgrave, 2014. Du service public à la télé-réalité, une histoire culturelle des télévisions européennes, Paris : INA, 2011 (Italian translation, Milano : Vita e Pensiero, 2015).
More at:

Friday / September 18, 2015
Session 10: 2:45 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. / Parallel Session – Seminar Room I

Communication Technologies II: The Long History of Visual Media / Panel Discussion

Nelson Ribeiro – Universidade Catolica Portuguesa, Lisbon, Portugal / Chair & Moderator
‘New’ Media and Freedom of Speech
(media history)

  • Anthony Löwstedt – Webster University, Vienna, Austria
    Media History and Anthropology: From Pictographic to Prographic Media
    (media development; history; anthropology; philosophy)
  • Paola Valentini – Università di Firenze, Italy
    Seeing Television, Seeing Images
    (radio & TV history; media interactions)
  • Massimo Scaglioni – Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milano, Italy
    The Challenge of Television History: A Neglected Discipline, or a Strong Model for Media Studies?
    (television studies; media studies; television history)
  • Luca Barra – Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milano, Italy
    Television History: Trajectories, Sources and Research Paths inside Media Studies
    (television studies; television history; media industries)
  • Isabelle Veyrat-Masson – Laboratoire Communication et Politique du CNRS, Paris, France
    The End of the “Historical” Television?
    (history; communication; sociology of media)
  • Jaroslav Švelch – Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic
    Situating Digital Game Histories: Technology, User Cultures, and the “Local Turn”
    (history of digital games; history of computing; oral histories; local histories of technology; history of everyday life)

The opening presentation by Anthony Löwstedt takes us back to the Neolithic paintings at the Lascaux Caves, arguing that the society that produced them already had a highly developed system of mediated representation that challenges the traditionally accepted developmental sequence and is directly related to modern visual and electronic media. Paola Valentini advances this claim by arguing that human vision – one of the central aspects of televisuality – had been traditionally overlooked by media historians. Her research is pointing out links between different modes of representation and evolving habits of vision that reflect the advent of color or the change of the aspect ration of the TV screen. Both Massimo Scaglioni and Luca Barra are members of the same creative team that investigates history of television from new, less conventional angles while using innovative sources and archival materials, as well as addressing unconventional objects and routines. They propose an original model of inquiry that challenges conventional media histories. Isabelle Veyrat-Masson looks at public service television from the perspective of a medium that has been condemned to death by many. She asks a set of questions that address a fundamental matter of what it is to die? Can a technology die at all, or is it just a set of social, cultural and political practices that are dying? And finally, Jaroslav Švelch invites us to look at the history of digital games not through the prism of the mainstream corporate producers, but instead to take an alternative vantage point and to follow the often subversive homebrew projects developed in the 1980s and 1990s by hobbyists in former Czechoslovakia.

Friday / September 18, 2015
Session 10: 2:45 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. / Parallel Session – Seminar Room II

Public Sphere II: Inter-Communal and Trans-National Imagined Communities / Panel Discuss.

Juraj Kittler – St. Lawrence University, Canton, New York, USA / Chair & Moderator
(comprehensive history of the public sphere; mediating technologies; Renaissance Venice)

  • Trish Morgan – Maynooth University, Ireland
    Bridges or Boundaries? The Contested Role of Mediated Communication in Modern Europe
    (media; political economy; political ecology; critical theory; digital media)
    contribution co-authored with:
    Paschal Preston – Dublin City University, Ireland
    (history of mediated comm.; comm. technology and society/culture; EU; journalism and news-making practices)
  • Susanne Kinnebrock – Universität Augsburg, Germany
    How to Deal with Networks and Dynamics in the Public Sphere?
    (history of journalism; media history in Central Europe; history of social movements)
    contribution co-authored with:
    Helena Bilandzic – Universität Augsburg, Germany
    (media processes and effects; media experiences; engagement; methods and methodology)
  • Sergei Kruk – Riga Stradins University, Latvia
    Romanticism and Historicism vs. Public sphere
    (discourse analysis; semiotics; history of communication; Soviet Union)
  • Gideon Kouts – Université Paris 8, France
    The “Jewish Network” Experience and its Role in the Formation of Modern Public Spheres
    (Hebrew/Jewish media & communication; history; national identity)
  • Luca Zuccolo – Istituto Italiano di Scienze Umane (SUM), Venice, Italy
    Rise of Public Opinion and Public Sphere in the Ottoman Empire within the Newspapers Network
    (Ottoman history; newspapers)
  • José Miguel Sardica – Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Lisbon, Portugal
    Rethinking History through Communication: The “Public Sphere” as a Civic “Imagined Community” in 19th century Portugal
    (contemporary history; press; journalism; public opinion; intellectuals)

Trish Morgan and Paschal Preston claim that an increasing reliance on mediated communication, celebrated for its ability to compress space and time, creates everything but the MacLuhanian global village. Their approach is a critique of such a techno-centric approach that reflects the lack of historical imagination by the contemporary theorists of the public sphere. Susanne Kinnebrock and Helena Bilandzic ask how public opinion can be studied in the historical context, suggesting that aside from the official sources, ‘dubious’ sources such as egodocuments may offer an important insight. Facing the crisis of the current public sphere in his own country, Sergei Kruk ponders upon the heritage of the Latvian Romantic philosophers who, in the interwar period, articulated the claim that a viable social community essentially depends upon its past – refusing the positions of methodological individualism. This notion is corroborated by Gideon Kouts’s inquiry into the inter-communal and trans-national nature of the Jewish public sphere that was in the 1840s mobilized through the press around the Damascus libel affair. The role of the press in creating the formation of public opinion and creation of the public sphere is at the core of Luca Zuccolo’s inquiry of the late 18th and 19th century Turkish newspapers. José Miguel Sardica investigates such imagined communities in the context of the 19th century Portuguese press and asks an important question: How is our understanding of history different if we look at it through the prism of communication?

Friday / September 18, 2015
Session 11: 4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. / Main Lecture Hall

Communication Technologies III: When the Newest Media Come of Age / Panel Discussion

Gabriele Balbi – Università della Svizzera Italiana, Lugano, Switzerland / Chair & Moderator
(media history, history of telecommunications)

  • Jérôme Bourdon – Tel Aviv University, Israel
    The Web and Print in History: Comparing Two Communication Revolutions
    (global television history; coverage of Israel-Palestine; media and memory; theories of media genres)
  • Johan Jarlbrink – Umeå University, Sweden
    Clipping Agencies in the News Networks 1900
    (media history; media archeology; journalism; history of the press; history of media use; information management)
  • Simone Natale – Loughborough University, United Kingdom
    Biographies of Media: On the role of Narratives and Storytelling in New Media’s Histories
    (media history; new media studies; media theory; early cinema; visual culture)
  • Marc Raboy – McGill University, Montreal, Canada
    Myth and Invention in the Biography of Guglielmo Marconi
    (media policy; media history)
  • Paolo Bory – Università della Svizzera Italiana, Lugano, Switzerland
    What does “Doing Internet History” Mean?
    (sociology of media; media history)
    contribution co-authored with:
    Gabriele Balbi – Università della Svizzera Italiana, Lugano, Switzerland
  • Niels Brügger – Aarhus University, Denmark
    The Danish Web Domain 1996-2015: Projects, Results, and Historigraphical Concerns
    (internet web history; historiography; digital humanities)
  • Jane Winters – University of London, United Kingdom
    Histories of Web Domains: Negotiating UK Web Space, 1996-2013
    (digital history; web archives; big data)

In a very bold opening statement on this panel, Jérôme Bourdon proposes to integrate print and web into one single longue-dureé revolutionary (or rather evolutionary) process that started back in the 15th century and is still evolving. This call for continuity is seconded by Johan Jarlbrink, who presents early 1900s newspaper clipping agencies as an historical analogue to Internet search engines. Simone Natale analyzes different and alternative biographies that have been used to represent the history of the web – mainly of its origins. Deriving from his upcoming first full-scale scholarly biography of Guglielmo Marconi, Marc Raboy scrutinizes the role of individual agency in communication history, and at the same time addresses the construction of popular mythology that surrounds the emergence of any new medium. But, according to Paolo Bory, the history of the Internet itself is only one of the five different approaches in which a communication/media historian can engage the Internet. Some of the remaining four approaches will be illustrated by our last two presenters: Niels Brügger and Jane Winters represent an international team, which claims that as of the mid 1990s the web indisputably became one of the essential repositories of our cultural heritage. Therefore, they ask what are the fundamental methodological concerns in using the web as a historical source? And we may go back to the opening premise of this panel: If there indeed are any analogies and continuities in the long history of new communication technologies, are there also similar challenges faced by those who study – let’s say – the early history of ephemeral print produced in 1460s Venice, and those who focus on the early history of the 1990s world wide web?


Friday / September 18, 2015
Session 12: 6:00 p.m. – 6:15 p.m. / Main Lecture Hall

Concluding Remarks by Conference Organizers:

Rosa Salzberg – Warwick University, Coventry, United Kingdom
(print culture; Renaissance Venice; urban history; migration and mobility)

Gabriele Balbi – Università della Svizzera Italiana, Lugano, Switzerland
(media history, history of telecommunications)

Juraj Kittler – St. Lawrence University, Canton, New York, USA
(comprehensive history of the public sphere; mediating technologies; Renaissance Venice)


Friday / September 18, 2015
Session 13: 6:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. / T.B.A.
ECREA History Section / Business Meeting

Susanne Kinnebrock – Universität Augsburg, Germany
Chair of the ECREA Communication History Section


Saturday / September 19, 2015
Session 14: 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. / Meeting Point: Scuola San Rocco

Cultural Program / Guided Tour

Rosa Salzberg – Warwick University, Coventry, United Kingdom
(print culture; Renaissance Venice; urban history; migration and mobility)

Juraj Kittler – St. Lawrence University, Canton, New York, USA
(comprehensive history of the public sphere; mediating technologies; Renaissance Venice)


Organized with the institutional support of:

ECREA – History Section
The University of Warwick, Coventry, United Kingdom
Università della Svizzera Italiana – Lugano, Switzerland
St. Lawrence University – Canton, NY, USA