CFP Transnational Journalism History

Debra van Tuyll Discussion

Call for papers

Transnational Journalism History


            Traditionally, journalism history has been studied from a national perspective. This tendency has been spurred on by the work of Benedict Anderson, who argued that newspapers were one of the chief instruments for creating national identity. However, journalism has never truly been bounded by geography. Practices, technologies, and journalists have moved around the globe, bringing new ideas with them and taking more new ideas along when they move on. Practices have emerged in one place and spread around the globe since before Gutenberg invented movable type.

Journalism historians have rarely looked at their field from this broader perspective. More commonly, historical studies of international journalism have focused on foreign news provided by correspondents from the home country, written from the perspective of the home country. As Kevin Grieves explains it, this sort of approach treats foreign news as news of the “other” that the correspondent interprets for the home audience. Transnational journalism, according to Grieves, treats more than one nation as the home audience. A good example of this would be America’s first newspaper, Publick Occurrences Both Foreign and Domestic. This paper consisted primarily of English news for an audience who thought of themselves as English men and women but who just happened to be living on another continent.

            The value of transnational journalism history is that it rises above nationalist approaches and historiographies. It does not privilege one people over another; it examines local applications of global developments and phenomena in journalism as being relevant across borders. Consequently, this conference is seeking presentations that transcend Anderson and considers people, practices and technologies that transcended national borders.

            This inaugural conference on Transnational Journalism History is seeking papers that deal with any aspect of the subject; however, we are particularly interested in work that examines the flow of those journalistic developments, people, and phenomena between Ireland and the United States. The work from this conference, and a second one anticipated for 2017, will form the basis of at least two volumes, one of which will deal with the flow of news, news personnel, and news developments between Ireland and the United States. The second conference and volume will be more global in scope.

            The conference will be held on February 25 and 26, 2016 at Georgia Regents University in Augusta, Ga. We hope to include a tour of this historic city as part of the Saturday afternoon activities. Conference sponsors include Georgia Regents University and Dublin City University, and the History Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications. Conference organizers are Debbie van Tuyll ( and Mark O’Brien (

            Completed papers and panel proposals should be submitted to van Tuyll by  Oct. 1, 2015. Abstracts of research in progress may also be submitted. Each submission will be evaluated in a blind review process.