Uppsala Forum Guest Lecture: Sympathetic Resonance: Trans-cultural Cooperation and Blueprints for Broadcasting, 1922 – 1937.

  • Date: –14:30
  • Location: Engelska parken 7-0043
  • Lecturer: Claire Davison, Professor of Modernist Studies at the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris
  • Organiser: Uppsala Forum and the Department of English
  • Contact person: Mattias Vesterlund
  • Föreläsning

‘Nation shall speak Peace unto Nation’. The motto of the BBC’s weekly Radio Times from 1928 until 1938 might at first glance appear to be yet another slogan taken up by a European nation-state in the 1930s while politicians and diplomats fumbled their way from precarious peace-keeping via appeasement to war.  My talk, and the larger research project it stems from, however, approaches the airwaves differently, tuning in to one of the ‘alternative currents’ of public broadcasting in the immediate aftermath of World War One. Drawing on the archives of the League of Nations and the Institute for Intellectual Cooperation, as well as sound and text archives at the BBC, I piece together a tenuous, but resoundingly visionary project for more sustainable forms of interconnected radio union across national barriers,  when wireless pioneers alert to the practical logistics of wave-lengths and transmission towers joined forces with educational and  welfare reformers, and some of the leading intellectuals, writers and composers of the era.  Drawing on unpublished scripts, letters and working memoranda, magazine archives, correspondence and surviving sound reels, I thus explore some of the sonic bridges extending across Europe to link up networks of home listeners united by acoustic memory, shared social experience, and new temporalities of sound.  Music predictably served as the first means of trans-European radiophonic communication, but as we shall see, blueprints for broadcasting ‘peace in our time’ were connecting fields as diverse as education, welfare legislation, nutrition, ballet, transport and even the tempo of life in the present.

Claire Davison is Professor of Modernist Studies at the Université Sordonne Nouvelle in Paris, specialising in transmedial and trans-European intellectual and cultural networks in the early twentieth century. Her ongoing research project, exploring radio archives and broadcasting networks promoting early trans-European readiophonic cooperation in the name of cultural diplomacy, international and intellectual cooperation, post WWI peacemovements, and welfare legislation, is a richly trans-disciplinary study bridging the arts and social history.