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Travel as a Commodity in Twenthieth-century Cultural Industries


Mi, 30/03/2016 – 16:30 bis 18:30


Medical Faculty of the University of Valencia, Aula 13, Nivel 1, Valencia, Spanien

Conference Panel at ESSH Conference 2016 in Valencia organized by the International Institute of Social History (IIHS)

Paulo Cunha: Cinegraphic Missions and Image Hunters
Kristin Kopp: The Geopolitics of Travel: the Colonial Representations of Colin Ross
Sofia Sampaio: Miguel Spiguel: Filmmaker, Propaganda-maker and Tourist
Joachim Schaetz: Branding Colin Ross

The session ‘Travel as a commodity in twentieth-century cultural industries’ is based on two resarch projects currently being conducted at various institutes in Europe and the US. The session’s presentations will first of all provide historical background to these two projects that together roughly cover the first three quarters of the twentieth century, ‘Exploring the interwar world: the travelogues of Colin Ross (1885–1945)’ and ‘Portuguese tourism promotional films (1900–1974)’. Although each presentation will differ in emphasis, common themes will be discussed, such as the emergence of travel accounts as a mass-produced, popular genre in print, still and moving images (the latter with or without preceding introductions or accompanying lectures); the inter- and multimediality of modern travel accounts; the role these travel accounts played, or were made to play, in their respective media.
The travel books and films of Colin Ross as well as Portuguese tourist promotional films came about in specific political circumstances—Germany’s unstable Weimar Republic and its subsequent nazi-regime; Portugal’s unstable First Republic and its subsequent dictatorial Second Republic—and under specific enabling and disabling commercial circumstances—the mutual involvement of private, mass cultural industries; state-ordered or self-initiated, mass-produced propaganda. Also, they were produced, distributed, and consumed in changing „mediascapes“ (Appadurai), particularly the rise and institutionalization of the cinema and the worldwide distribution of its products as well as the broadening of the supply of book and periodical publishing.
In such volatile circumstances established notions from the sociology of art are useful to capture the changes going on: the gatekeeper function, i.e. the conventions and players that determine to a large extent what gets made and/or published (Becker), and Crane’s cultural domain, i.e. the level of audience reach and penetration, type of product, and the concomitant organization of cultural industries. However, as most of the research presented in in its initial stages, the session’s participants will also discuss and reflect on the sociological and/or anthropologlical approaches mobilized in the intervening year.

Organizer (Conference): International Institute of Social History (IIHS)
Organizer (Panel): Nico de Klerk
Sponsors (Panel): FWF Austrian Science Fund