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Television Under Dictatorships:
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> Call for Submissions to an Edited Collection of Academic Articles
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> Scholars from various fields have often written about the strategic 
> value of media control to repressive regimes, but very little has been 
> published concerning the specific television cultures and programmes 
> that have developed in such political contexts. In particular, little 
> attention has been given to the wide range of programme forms, genres 
> and texts that have been broadcast under dictatorships. This lack of 
> attention may have perpetuated the view that such television has been 
> constituted by a stream of broadcasts of military parades, personality 
> cults and propagandised 'news' content. Yet television may also have 
> included other programmes such as soap opera and serious drama, 
> documentary, talk, entertainment, music and sport.  Television 
> produced under repressive regimes has also been thought of as of low 
> quality, with little aesthetic merit, and lacking in intellectual or 
> artistic value because it was constrained by tight controls and 
> censorship. This too overlooks the diversity and complexity of 
> television programming and production.  
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> We are therefore seeking contributions to an internationally-based and 
> historically-focused edited collection that begins to explore a number 
> of these television forms and issues. We are interested in 
> contributions that address questions that include, but are not 
> restricted to, the following: 
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> *	What types of programmes and genres were shown (parades/ personality 
> cults/ news/ soaps/ drama/ entertainment/ music etc.)? 
> *	Was there a distinctive aesthetic/ textual character to the 
> television programmes shown? (If there was, how might this be 
> attributable to the political context rather than cultural/ national 
> variation? What was the relationship between the political context and 
> production practices?) 
> *	What were the cultures of viewing under such regimes? (For example, 
> how closely aligned were such programmes to audience tastes and 
> interests? To what extent were audiences ambivalent or resistant? 
> Could certain programmes be interpreted as subversive?) 
> *	How much influence did foreign television systems or 
> foreign-originated programming have on the character of television? 
> *	How was television implicated at times when the nation came together 
> (state rallies, for example) or fractured apart (revolution, civil 
> war, etc.)?
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> We envisage a series of case studies about television in particular 
> states under dictators, military juntas or one-party rule, and 
> involving any time-period from the birth of television to the 
> mid-1990s.  Although we recognize that authors will need to place 
> television within a national institutional/ regulatory context, the 
> main focus of the book will be on accounts of television content/ 
> programme texts, aesthetics, production practices and audience 
> experience, whether in relation to everyday life, 'media events' or at 
> moments of particular crisis.  We welcome contributions covering 
> television in Europe, the former Soviet bloc, Africa, the Middle East, 
> Asia, South America or any other part of the world.
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> Interested scholars should e-mail a proposal (250 words approx.), 
> together with a biographical note, to Rob Turnock (Royal Holloway, 
> University of London, [log in to unmask]) or Peter Goddard 
> (University of Liverpool, [log in to unmask]) by 19 November 
> 2007.  We would normally expect finished articles to be submitted 
> within 12 months from when the proposal is approved.
> 

Michele Hilmes
Professor, Media and Cultural Studies
Director, Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research
Department of Communication Arts
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Madison, WI 53706
608-262-2543

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