Building Empires on Air: Histories and Geopolitics of Radio and Empire

Seminar Room 203

Date & Time
1st April, 2011 @ 09:00:00

Building Empires on Air:

Histories and Geopolitics of Radio and Empire

Moore Institute

National University of Ireland, Galway

9am-6pm, 1 April 2011

Part of the Texts, Contexts, Cultures research programme.

Supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

This workshop will compare scholarly approaches to histories of radio and empire, in

a broad transnational and geopolitical context. Key questions to be considered


- How have transnational broadcasters sought to influence society, politics,

and culture in target areas, at different times and in different settings?

What comparisons and contrasts can usefully be drawn?

- How might concepts of (soft) power, territory, sovereignty and transnationality

contribute to critical interdisciplinary engagements with

international broadcasting within historical and contemporary ‘empires'?

- What are the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches to the study

of radio and empire? What is the place of institutional history? How do we

tackle the cultural history of broadcasting and empire, and the issue of

audience reception?

- How useful are older models of ‘media imperialism', and new ideas about

‘cultural diplomacy' and ‘globalisation', as tools of scholarly analysis?

- How far have institutions with responsibilities for both domestic and

external broadcasting been reshaped by their overseas obligations?

- What light do different disciplinary perspectives have to shed on these


There is no charge for registration, but if you would like to attend please email

Simon Potter ( in advance.

This event is part of the wider ‘Texts Contexts Cultures' research project funded by

the Government of Ireland PRTLI scheme and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.


(All sessions take place in the Moore Institute Seminar Room)

9-11am - Session 1 (Chair: Klaus Dodds)

David Hendy (University of Westminster) - ‘Early Radio and World Visions'

Chandrika Kaul (University of St Andrews) - ‘"Invisible Empire Tie": Some Reflections on Broadcasting and the British Raj in India'

Emma Robertson (Sheffield Hallam) - ‘Listening in Exile: Imagining, identifying and classifying BBC Empire Service audiences'

11-11.30am - Coffee

11.30am-1.30pm - Session 2 (Chair: Sîan Nicholas)

Andrea L. Stanton (University of Denver) - ‘ESB, PBS, and NEBS: Governing an "Empire on Air" in the Middle East, 1934-49'

Rebecca P. Scales (Rochester Institute of Technology, NY) - ‘Métissage over the Airwaves: Colonial Modernity and the Cultural History of Imperial Broadcasting in French Algeria, 1930-1936 ‘

Niccoló Tognarini (European University Institute, Florence) - ‘"Avanguardia della Propaganda nazionale": Italian Broadcasting Abroad in the 1930s'

1.30-2.30pm - Lunch

2.30-4.30pm - Session 3 (Chair: Alban Webb)

Gordon Johnston (Leeds Metropolitan University) - ‘"Broadcasting Freedom": Scholarship and Ideology in Histories of Cold War Broadcasting'

David Clayton (University of York) - ‘Communal Consumption: radio broadcasting in dependent colonies, 1945-60'

Alasdair Pinkerton (Royal Holloway) - ‘Rings around Eurasia: the weaponisation of Cold War radio'

4.30-5pm - Coffee

5pm-6pm - Round Table Discussion (Chairs: Simon Potter and Alasdair Pinkerton)

Klaus Dodds (Royal Holloway), Sîan Nicholas (Aberystwyth), Alban Webb (Open University)

Dr Simon Potter


NUI, Galway

Dr Alasdair Pinkerton


Royal Holloway

The Andrew Mellon Foundation