Visual Communication Studies


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Visual Studies seeks to enhance the understanding of the visual in all its forms -- moving and still images and displays in television, video and film, art and design, and print and digital media. The Division sponsors research in creation, processing, function, meaning, and critical consequences of visual representation. Visual Studies research touches on all other communication fields, investigating such areas as the interaction of the visual with public policy and law, mass communication processes, corporate image and organization, technology and human interaction, elite and popular culture, philosophy of communication, education and the social sphere. The Division reaches beyond content to assure visual analyses are grounded solidly in visual theory and methodology. The Visual Studies Division publishes a biannual newsletter to keep members abreast of the field and its various scholarly societies.



An AHRC Global Cult Cinema in the Age of Convergence Network Conference

Aberystwyth U, UK

15- 16 April 2014

Registration now open (closes next Monday 17th March).  Please go to the conference website for the conference programme and registration form.

Keynote speakers:

Professor Barbara Klinger, Indiana U, USA
Professor Mark Jancovich, U of East Anglia, UK

Conference events include: A 3D screening of Creature From the Black Lagoon (Jack Arnold, 1954) in association with Abertoir: Wales' International Horror Festival

While academic study of cult cinema can be traced back to the 1980s, there has recently been a surge of scholarly interest in – alongside an increasing popular awareness of – the field. In particular, the advent and development of digital networks has led to an increasing awareness of a variety of cult followings and access to unprecedented cult films from around the world. Research addressing the changes wrought by increased digitization and global connectivity has, however, been relatively scant, as have sustained attempts to discuss and debate these issues. The aim of this conference (organised in association with the AHRC Global Cult Cinema in the Age of Convergence Network) is to bring together scholars to engage in a sustained dialogue addressing the role of technologies in different areas of cult film culture.

If you have any queries relating to the conference, please email:

Jamie Sexton, Kate Egan, Matt Hills, Emma Pett and Rebecca Edwards (conference organisers)



An area of multiple panels for the 2014 Film&  History Conference: Golden Ages: Styles and Personalities, Genres and Histories 

20-24 November 2014 

The Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor’s Club Madison, WI (USA)

DEADLINE for abstracts: 1 July 2014

AREA: The Golden Age(s) of Film Noir


Motion picture audiences have long grown accustomed to dramatic narratives in which the protagonist struggles to discover some element of truth among a myriad of circumstances and characters. As suggested by Kaplan, Spicer, Harvey, Place, and others, the style of Film Noir represented a different entity within the history of film; one that drew upon social eclecticism, and the seamy underbelly of popular culture. This style, or to some, film genre, forced audiences into re-examining American values, including traditional gender roles, race, and sexuality.

While the war years of 1941-46 featured the private eye or hard-boiled detective’s trip through the social fantastic, the post-war years drew upon the social malaise that was a large part of American culture, and a war ravaged Europe. A later construct was that of psychopathic behavior and criminal intent in which villains and villainesses harbored dark childhoods, and psychological wounds of war.

What can be said about the effects Film Noir, and the novels from which they derive, have had upon traditional Western societies? What cultural or historical factors affected audience perceptions of these stories, and their subsequent pleasures? How did female spectatorship factor prominently in postwar narratives? How has the anti-hero figured prominently in the deconstruction of patriarchy, if at all? This area, comprising multiple panels, explores the concept of “Golden Ages” across the production systems surrounding Film Noir. Topics might include the following:

• Decoding the Production Codes through Film Noir 

• Feminism, female sexuality, and fandom

• Gay, Lesbian characters and Queer considerations 

• Racial relations, and social disruption 

• The existence, or non-existence, of Neo-Noir 

• The Family in Film Noir 

• The military man or woman in wartime Films Noir 

• The recognizable star vs. the unknown actor in Films Noir 

• The Tough Guy guise, and the fascination with the Femme Fatale 

• Wet, dangerous, and dark: the visual tropes of the Film Noir city

Proposals for individual papers should include a 200-word abstract and the name, affiliation, and contact email of the presenter. Proposals for complete panels (three related presentations) are also welcome, but they must include an abstract and contact information, including an e-mail address, for each presenter.

Deadline for Abstracts: July 1, 2014. For updates and registration information about the upcoming meeting, see:

Please send submissions or queries to the area chair:

Darrell M, Newton

Salisbury U



Second VIEW Journal issue, explores Europe on and beyond the screen

VIEW, the Journal of European Television History and Culture is the first peer-reviewed, multi-media and open access e-journal in the field of European television history and culture. It offers an international platform for outstanding academic research and archival reflection on television as an important part of our European cultural heritage. The journal is proud to present its second issue: Europe on and behind the Screen, which is freely available at:

The second issue comes in a brand new form, with a new title (VIEW), a new URL (, a fresh design and a new member on the team of editors-in-chief: John Ellis from Royal Holloway, University of London.The journal makes use of an open access publishing system, OJS, and has developed a tool to insert relevant audiovisual sources in the online reading experience. The journal also received a redesign to maximise readability. The new name, VIEW, indicates a clear vision for the future of the Journal of European Television History and Culture.

The full table of contents for the second issue is:

Editorial - Dana Mustata


Mapping Europe: Images of Europe in the Eurovision Song Contest - Mari Pajala Spain Was Not Living a Celebration. TVE and Eurovision Song Contest during the years of Franco’s Dictatorship - Juan Francisco Gutiérrez Lozano The Golden Stag Festival in Ceausescu's Romania (1968-1971) - Alexandru Matei Comunicar Europa/Communicating Europe. Spain and television co-productions - Manuel Palacio&  Concepción Cascajosa Zen and the Art of Adaptation - Jeremy Strong


Live from Moscow: The Celebrations of Yuri Gagarin and Transnational Television in Europe - Lars Lundgren Reading Between The Lines. A Transnational History of the Franco-British Entente Cordial in Post War Television - Andreas Fickers&  Andy O’Dwyer Transnational Relations Between The BBC And The WDR (1960-1969): The Central Roles Of Hugh Greene And Klaus Von Bismarck - Christian Potschka Poland's Return to Europe:  Polish Terrestrial Broadcasters and TV-Fiction - Sylwia Szostak Hello, Lenin? Soviet Nostalgia on Post-Soviet Television - Kateryna Khinkulova

> From European Identity and Media Imperialism to Public Diplomacy: the Changing Rationale behind Euronews - Eva Polonska-Kimunguyi&  Patrick Kimunguyi Télé-clubs and European Television History Beyond the Screen - Ira Wagman

This second issue enables a discussion of European television through different themes, approaches and case studies. Starting with this issue, we present a brand new structure of our journal. The Discovery articles zoom in on case studies from different corners of Europe, while the Explorations offer different approaches to writing Europe’s television history and advancing theoretical discussions in the field.

We wish you a pleasant and inspiring journey through Europe on and behind the Screen!

Reviews for Transnational Cinemas

We are currently seeking reviews for the next issue of the Intellect journal, Transnational Cinemas.

Reviews need to be between 600-900 words and engage with the concerns of the journal.

Information can be found here:,id=183/

The following publication is available for review:

A Social History of Iranian Cinema: Volume 4: The Globalizing Era, 1984-2010 (2012) by Hamid Naficy.

Please contact me with proposals for any other recent publications or films fitting within the Transnational Cinemas remit. 


The Communication History Division and Visual Communication Division of the German Communication Association
The Development of Visual Mass Communication
Trier (Germany),
2-4 April 2014 
Advances in the technical production process of pictures in recent decades – especially digitalization – have led to mass media communication being increasingly dominated by images: Today, quality newspapers contain numerous photos, countless television channels broadcast 24/7 and everyone can quickly share his homemade pictures and movies with smaller or larger audiences on the social web. It is often stated that we live in a “visual age”.
The increasing importance of the “visual” has brought images to new attention in science. The proclaimed iconic or pictorial turn in the 1990s is challenging the dominance of the linguistic and directs attention to the image. It raises new issues with regard to the logic of images, to their potential as well as their perception and – in a broader perspective – to the visual construction of society and “visual culture”.
Although the influence of pictures on the shaping of culture and society has reached a new dimension with digitalization, images and visual presentations have accompanied the emergence and development of mass communication throughout history and are an important factor in the long-term process of media change. The aim of the workshop is to understand the development of the visual aspects of mass communication as a long-term historical process. Illustrations played an important role in early leaflets and the first newspapers in the 16th century. But throughout the 19th century and especially in the early 20th century, with the rise of the mass press, pictorial presentations and photographs became increasingly important, and the same is true for new image-based mass media such as film and later television.
Social life was increasingly documented in images, both professional and amateur, and the visual presentation of information became an indispensable element, not only for journalism but also for persuasive forms of communication such as advertising or political communication. 
Also, relatively early, amateur pictures became part of (semi-) public communication spaces such as early cinema.
The developments can be viewed and analyzed from different perspectives:
What are the consequences of increasing visuality in mass media for mass communication and society? What is its connection to media (and
social) change? How can the role of images be described in the process of mediatization of society and everyday life?
What were typical strategies of visualization in certain historical phases or media? What were and what are iconic images and how did they come to be? What was the function of the use of images and visual design?
  • How was journalism, advertising, political communication challenged by the rise of images and visual design? Were there new forms emerging and what were their key elements?
  • How were the images and illustrations received by the public? To what extent were they changing the audience and its expectations?
  • How were images and new image based media discussed in contemporary discourses?
  • To what extent were amateurs contributing to visualization in form of user generated content?
  • Which specific methodological approaches can empirically capture the development of visual mass communication in its various dimensions?
These questions can be addressed from different perspectives by media history and visual communication research and discussed in the context of the DGPuK workshop. Papers dealing with the conference theme in a broader sense are also very welcome.
Paper Proposals
Extended abstracts (of no more than two pages) should be submitted electronically via email ( Submission will be evaluated in a blind review process according to the following five criteria: 1) contribution to the conference theme, 2) plausibility of the line of argumentation or of the (historic) theoretical foundation, 3) appropriateness of the method or approach, 4) clarity and conciseness of the presentation as well as 5) contribution to the field of research (relevance and originality). Each abstract should have a separate cover sheet providing the author’s name, institutional affiliation and address.


Deadline for paper proposals: 15 December 2013
Send submissions to: Dr. Michael Harnischmacher,
The conference will start with a Get-Together in the evening of 2 April 2014 and end on 4 April 2014. Details concerning conference venue, hotels etc. will be made available in due course.
A pre-conference event (2 April 2014) will be organized by the Young Scholars Network for Communication History (NAKOGE) and by ECREA's Young Scholars Network (YECREA). There will be a separate call for papers for this international workshop dedicated to “Mediatized Celebrity and Popular Media in Historical and Visual Communication Research.“
Promotion of young scientists is a particular concern of both the Visual Communication and the Communication History division. Thus, we want to especially invite young scientists to hand in submissions on the outlined topics. To support their commitment, a best paper award will be assigned for outstanding work.



  • Jana Holsanova, Chair
  • Giorgia Aiello, Vice-Chair
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