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Transnational Media Events

The Graduiertenkolleg 'Transnational Media Events from Early Modern Times to the Present' investigates forms and functions of media representations of key events from the invention of the printing press to the age of the world wide web.

Since early modern times, social communication increasingly relies on technical media. Discussions, debates, and controversies staged by the media constitute events for societies – by representing events and by being events themselves: media events.

Thus Media are understood not as sign systems in general or as instruments of individual communication, but as technical means of mass distribution that make social communication possible in the first place, e.g. printing, photography, film, radio, television, and the internet.

Outstanding media events – key events for the purposes of the Kolleg – attract particular attention by the media and are thus characterized by a noticeable intensification of communicative processes. The Battle of Blenheim, the South Sea Bubble, the assasination of Kennedy or the Romanian tele-revolution are landmarks in the history of communication because they reflect important cultural issues as well as the evolution of media systems.

Utilizing an interdisciplinary perspective, the Kolleg examines media events not for their own sake, but as factors in and catalysts of communication across borders. The communicative spaces opened up by media events are therefore transnational, not territorial, ones. In addition to media technologies and the content of media products, analyses will focus on the processes involved in making the event public: the struggle for hegemony, including misunderstandings and persuasive strategies, as well as communicative networks and journalistic practices.

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