M.K. Gandhi and the Media

David Bulla's picture
Call for Papers
June 14, 2019
United Kingdom
Subject Fields: 
Journalism and Media Studies, South Asian History / Studies, Communication, Literature, Political History / Studies

School of History
University of St Andrews, Scotland

Dates: 5 & 6 October 2019

Note: Deadline for abstracts extended to 14 June 2019

On 2 October 2019, the world will celebrate the 150thanniversary of M. K. Gandhi’s birth. Accordingly, the University of St Andrews would like to announce a call for papers to be delivered at an international symposium convened by the School of History. The symposium will bring researchers from the around the world together to present papers on Gandhi as a journalist and how the media covered Gandhi. Mahatma Gandhi’s nonviolent political philosophy became a model for the next generation of political activists, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the United States and Nelson Mandela in South Africa. 

Mohandas K. Gandhi practiced journalism for much of his adult life, starting his journalistic career in England when he wrote for a newsletter called The Vegetarianand then in South Africa at the end of the nineteenth century when he frequently wrote letters to various editors. In 1896, Gandhi published a document titled The Grievances of the British Indians in South Africa, also known as the Green Pamphlet, about the plight of indentured servants in that nation. A first edition of 10,000 copies was distributed widely in India, and it was the start of a publishing career that would last the rest of his life. In South Africa, he would start a weekly newspaper, Indian Opinion, with a printing plant at his Phoenix Farm enclave outside of Durban. This was the first of six newspapers he would publish, and Gandhi maintained that ‘the newspaper press is a great power.’ Later, he would establish a publishing house in Gujarat. Meanwhile, he would learn to cultivate relationships with news media personnel all over the world, thus ensuring that the first draft of history was often favourable to him. Throughout his adult life, the news media were always foremost in the Mahatma’s eye, both his own publishing enterprises and how he and his enterprises would be portrayed—or framed—by print and broadcast journalists.

General topics/areasinclude (but are not limited to):

  • Gandhi as an advocacy journalist
  • Gandhi as a publisher, writer and orator
  • Gandhi’s South African newspaper
  • Gandhi’s Indian newspapers
  • British news media and Gandhi
  • Indian news media and Gandhi
  • North American news media and Gandhi
  • Gandhi in music and art
  • Gandhi in cartoons, newsreels and on radio
  • Gandhi and the literati
  • Gandhi‘s historical memorialization
  • Gandhi in contemporary popular culture

Submissions to this conference are sought from people from multiple disciplines, such as art, anthropology, economics, ethnic studies, history, Indian studies, political science, literature, social work, and sociology. 

Conference Committee:

Chandrika Kaul (University of St Andrews)

David Bulla (Augusta University, GA)

Ali Ansari (University of St Andrews)

Brian Gabrial (Northwestern State University)

Diane Bragg (University of Alabama)

Submitting Your Proposal

Proposals should be submitted no later than 14 June 2019to David W. Bulla, Department of Communication, Augusta University: dbulla@augusta.edu

E-Mail Subject Line: Gandhi and the Media Submission; File Format: Microsoft Word (DOC or DOCX)

 The following information must be included in the body of the email:

1.  Author(s) 2. Affiliation as you would like it to appear in the conference program 3. Corresponding author email address. The following information must be in the Microsoft Word file: 1. Title of proposal 2.  Body of proposal (maximum of 300 words) 3.  Keywords (maximum of ten) 4. 1-page CV maximum.  All text must be in Times New Roman 12. No footnotes or special formatting (bold, underline, or italicization) must be used.

Evaluating Your Proposal

All abstracts will be double-blind peer reviewed and you will be notified of the Organizing Committee’s decision no later than 12 July 2019.  If a positive decision is made, you will be asked to promptly register online.

The conference registration fee is £175.  This will include all conference material, all refreshments, all lunches and the gala dinner. We hope to cover the accommodation costs (2 nights) of speakers, on a first come first served basis (with confirmed registration), giving priority to those travelling from outside Scotland.


A day rate fee for attendance is also possible. Please contact the organisers.


The conference (sessions only) are open free of charge to the University of St Andrews staff and students.



We plan to publish a selection of papers in an edited book titled The Mahatma and the Media, to be submitted to the Palgrave Macmillan series, ‘Palgrave Studies in the History of the Media’. Please indicate whether you wish your paper to be considered for publication at the time of submission.

Contact Info: 

Dr. David W. Bulla, conference co-founder/research chair


Contact Email: