Call for Papers: “Ruling the Waves”: Transnational Radio Broadcasting in the Middle East and the Mediterranean between Production and Reception, 1920-1970

Maria Chiara Rioli's picture


June 22-24, 2022, Rome

Link to the CfP

Organized by Peter Wien (University of Maryland), Pelle Valentin Olsen (Roskilde University), Bianca Gaudenzi (German Historical Institute in Rome / University of Cambridge), Arturo Marzano (University of Pisa), Enrico Acciai (“Tor Vergata” University of Rome), and Maria Chiara Rioli (Ca’ Foscari University).

For much of the 20th century, radio connected people across the globe. Radio acted as a means of propaganda, a vehicle of dissidence, and a medium of popular culture. Yet, compared to other mediums and genres of communication such as the press, cinema, and TV, the history of radio has received little attention. This conference re-examines the history and experiences of transnational radio broadcasting by analyzing its production, reception, and impact in the Middle Eastern and Mediterranean regions between the early 1920s and 1970.

This conference intends to address a number of core issues, including: 1) reconstructing the political and cultural context in which radio programs were created; 2) highlighting the way in which audiences from different national, class, and linguistic backgrounds received and reacted to those transmissions; 3) examining the transnational networks that were born out of radio, both among the personnel who contributed to production, many of whom had migratory backgrounds, and among various groups of listeners; 4) investigating the North-South, West-East, and South-South relationships that radio broadcasting facilitated on a political, economic, and cultural level; 5) analyzing the transnational cultural exchange of music and literature programing on perceptions of taste, gender relationships, and generational positioning, but also the influence of technology on styles of verbal presentation and musical arrangements.

We invite contributions of original new research, to be included in an edited volume, from scholars at all career stages. We are particularly interested in papers on one or more of following themes:

- Political histories of radio and radio as propaganda.

- Cultural, social, economic and mobility histories of radio.

- The receiving end and histories of listening.

- Transnational public spheres and the sharing of ideas and ideals.

- Technological and material histories of radio.

- The impact of radio on popular culture.

- Radio as business and radio advertising.

Abstracts of no more than 500 words are due by September 13, 2021. Abstracts should include a brief biography. Papers for pre-circulation will be due by June 1, 2022. Please send abstracts to The Conference will take place at the German Historical Institute in Rome, the Danish Institute in Rome, and “Tor Vergata” University of Rome. Funding for travel and accommodation will be provided.

The conference is funded by the Carlsberg Foundation, the Danish Institute in Damascus, the Academic Research Institute in Iraq, the Council of American Overseas Research Centers, the German Historical Institute in Rome, the Danish Institute in Rome, Ithaca (Interconnecting Histories and Archives for Migrant Agency), and the European Union.