Keynote Speakers

Les organisateurs et organisatrices du congrès ont le plaisir d’accueillir Brooke Kroeger et Yvonne Zimmermann comme conférencières principales.

Congress organisers are pleased to welcome Brooke Kroeger and Yvonne Zimmermann as keynote speakers.

Prof. Brooke Kroeger is journalist and professor of journalism at the NYU Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, and director of the MA unit,  Global and Joint Program Studies (GloJo), which she founded. Her research interests address US women’s history, the role of men and media in women’s suffrage (see her latest book Front Pages, Front Lines, Media and the Fight for Women’s Suffrage) , and undercover journalism. Her Undercover Reporting: The Truth about Deception (2012) argues for a reconsideration of the place of these oft-maligned journalistic practices. She also wrote the only full-scale biography of Nellie Bly (Nellie Bly : Daredevil, Reporter, Feminist, 1994), perhaps the best-known figure in undercover journalism. The role of women, but also the place of gender, plays a major role in her reflections on the evolution of journalistic practices in the United States. In a work-in-progress that will be the subject of her talk, she highlights the continuing presence of women in the US press from 1844 to the #MeToo present.

Brooke Kroeger’s current project on Journalism’s Women

In February 1931, Cissy Patterson confessed in one of her Washington Herald editor’s columns that she once blew the chance to interview Albert Einstein. Tipped that he was a houseguest on an estate in Palm Springs, she snuck onto the property but fled as soon as she caught sight of him. Einstein was naked. “Under such circumstances,” Arthur Brisbane told his protegée through his own editor’s column for the New York American, “Nellie Bly would have got a blanket, put it over Dr. Einstein and got the interview, if necessary, sitting on the blanket and Einstein to keep him from getting away.”  Bly had been dead for nine years at this point and nearly four decades out of daily journalism. That is an eternity for any reporter’s celebrity status to endure, let alone a woman’s in the third decade of the twentieth century, when women reporters were far more likely to be denigrated than venerated. Trolled, we would say today.

The Patterson and Brisbane columns appeared at the rough midpoint of the 170-plus years since women became a regularized presence in mainstream US journalism, counting from Horace Greeley’s hire of Margaret Fuller as literary editor for his New York Tribune in 1844, a brief she stretched to include social reform before she left for Europe to cover the Italian Revolution. The year 1931 is also the midpoint of “Journalism’s Women,” a work-in-progress with a hard focus on the often unseen or unacknowledged factors in the careers of the women most associated with serious, substantive hard-edged reporting; those, from then to now, who’ve competed for advantage, position, and prominence, head-on with men.  

Prof. Dr. Yvonne Zimmermann is professor of media studies at University of Marburg (Germany). She has investigated the use of visual media for educational and advertising purposes in numerous studies. One focus has been the projection of lantern slides in concert with utility films in science and education, industry, and advertising. One of her current projects extends this research approach to the 19th Century and studies « Performative Configurations of the Art of Projection for the Popular Transfer of Knowledge. Media Archaeological Case Studies in the History of Useful Media and the Screen ». The project is funded by the German Research Foundation and carried out in cooperation with the Trier Centre for Digital Humanities. It further develops the fundamental research into the history of the magic lantern and the art of projection that was conducted at the University of Trier with the expertise of Dr. Ludwig Vogl-Bienek, who is senior researcher in the current project at the University of Marburg.

Yvonne Zimmermann’s current project

The project is based on the hypothesis that in the 19th Century, the art of projection and the use of the lantern in popular education led to a performativization of the popular transfer of knowledge. This performativization was realized in multiple performative configurations that have shaped the development of modern time-based AV media for knowledge transfer considerably. Based on a selection of surviving works (series of lantern slides, lecture texts), historical devices and written sources, the project explores three widespread lantern dispositifs in media archaeological case studies that will be published on the research and publication platform eLaterna – Historical Art of Projection.

THE SIEGE OF DELHI in the lecture theatre of the Royal Polytechnic Institution. John Henry Pepper, The Boy’s Playbook of Science, London 1862, at p. 306. Courtesy of the David Francis collection – Kent MOMI

With the rise of the lantern to a mass medium in the 19th Century, occupational fields evolved that required both qualified skills and sound knowledge. These fields were characterized by a novel combination and interplay as well as a refinement of skills and knowledge of already existing professions. The project studies these evolving media-specific professions by distinguishing between two main occupational areas: those professions involved in the production of lantern slides (such as slide painters, photographers, laboratory technicians and colourists) and those involved in the performance of lantern shows (lantern operators, lecturers, reciters etc.). These two areas of lantern dispositifs would be formative for professions in future time-based visual media, among them film and television.