History of Media Studies

This working group will cultivate a community around a growing (and notably interdisciplinary) field of research. While a large literature of published work on the history of the cognate areas of film, media, and communication has accumulated over the last 40 years or so, there is nothing like a community or subfield in the manner of the history of psychology, economics, or sociology. Indeed, historical work on the media fields is notably cut off from better established fields in the history of social science, with which it often intersects. Connections with the far less developed history of the humanities are also awaiting development, since major strands of media, communication, and especially film studies have their origins in, and are oriented toward, the humanities.

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Consortium Respectful Behavior Policy

Participants at Consortium activities will treat each other with respect and consideration to create a collegial, inclusive, and professional environment that is free from any form of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation.

Participants will avoid any inappropriate actions or statements based on individual characteristics such as age, race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, nationality, political affiliation, ability status, educational background, or any other characteristic protected by law. Disruptive or harassing behavior of any kind will not be tolerated. Harassment includes but is not limited to inappropriate or intimidating behavior and language, unwelcome jokes or comments, unwanted touching or attention, offensive images, photography without permission, and stalking.

Participants may send reports or concerns about violations of this policy to conduct@chstm.org.

Upcoming Meetings

There are no currently scheduled upcoming events.

Past Meetings

  • May 15, 2024

    In this session, we will read and discuss Angus Burgin's draft chapter, “The Rise of the Internet and the Fall of the Information Access.”

  • March 20, 2024

    In this session, we will read and discuss Esperanza Herrero's working paper, “How women researchers contributed to the proposal of two-step flow: some of the hidden gendered work behind The People’s Choice”.

  • December 20, 2023

    In this session, we will read contributions from the just-published The Ghost Reader: Recovering Women’s Contributions to Media Studies (Goldsmiths Press, 2023), including the introduction by the editors, Elena D. Hristova, Aimee-Marie Dorsten, and Carol A. Stabile, and a chapter by Marianne Kinkel on “Gene Weltfish (1902–1980).”

  • November 15, 2023

    In this session, we will read Pete Simonson, Dave Park, and Jeff Pooley's “The History of Communication Studies Across the Americas: A View from the United States” and Afonso de Albuquerque's “Jornalismo E Imperialismo: Configurações Contemporâneas/Journalism and Imperialism: Contemporary Configurations.”

  • October 18, 2023

    In this session, we will read Marcel Broersma's “From Press History to the History of Journalism” (2011) and Otávio Daros's “Prehistory of journalism studies: Discovering the Brazilian tradition.“

  • September 20, 2023

    In this session, we will read Valeska Huber & Jürgen Osterhammel's “Introduction: Global Publics” (2020) (up to page 38), and Ali Karimi's "Ephemeral Publics: An Experiment in Influencing Muslim Public Opinion in WWI."

  • May 17, 2023

    In this session, we will read Pierre Bourdieu & Loïc Wacquant's “On the Cunning of Imperialist Reason” (1999) and Bernard Geoghegan's “Learning to Code: Cybernetics and French Theory” (2023).

  • April 19, 2023

    In this session, we will read Hadley Cantril & Gordon Allport's “Education,” from The Psychology of Radio (1935) and Brian C. Gregory's draft chapter “Developing Critical Listening: Educational Radio, Civic Participation, and Early Media Literacy”.

  • March 15, 2023

    In this session, we will read Stuart Hall's “Richard Hoggart, The Uses of Literacy and the Cultural Turn” (2007) and Steven Gotzler's “Virtue Signals: Richard Hoggart and British Cultural Studies, a Case-Study in the History of Theory.”

  • February 15, 2023

    In this session, we will read Kit Coppard, Paddy Whannel, Raymond Williams, and Tony Higgins's “Television Supplement” (New Left Review, 1961) and Susan Douglas's draft chapters “Introduction” and “What Is Culture?”

Group Conveners

  • dpark's picture

    Dave Park

    David Park (PhD, University of Pennsylvania) is professor of communication at Lake Forest College in Lake Forest, IL. His scholarship addresses historical topics in communication and media studies, with an emphasis on the history of communication associations, media history, and scholarly communication. He is the reviews editor for New Media & Society, the founder of the Communication History Division of the International Communication Association, and the series editor for the Critical Introduction to Media and Communication Theory series at Peter Lang publishers. He is the author of Pierre Bourdieu: A Critical Introduction to Media and Communication Theory (Peter Lang, 2014). He has also co-edited The History of Media and Communication Research (Peter Lang, 2008), The Long History of New Media (Peter Lang, 2011), The International History of Communication Study (Routledge, 2015), Communicating Memory and History (Peter Lang, 2018), and The Inclusive Vision: Essays in Honor of Larry Gross (Peter Lang, 2018).


  • jpooley's picture

    Jeff Pooley

    Jeff Pooley (PhD, Columbia University) is professor of media & communication at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA. His research interests center on the history of media research within the context of the social sciences, with special focus on the early Cold War behavioral sciences. He is author of James W. Carey and Communication Research: Reputation at the University’s Margins (Peter Lang, 2016), and co-editor of The History of Media and Communication Research (Peter Lang, 2008), Media and Social Justice (Palgrave, 2011), and Redrawing the Boundaries of the Social Sciences: How Social Problems Become Economic Problems in the Postwar U.S. (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming). He is co-founder of the Society for the History of Recent Social Science, and has published articles and book chapters on a range of related topics.


  • PeteSimonson's picture

    Pete Simonson

    Pete Simonson (PhD, University of Iowa) is professor of communication and, by courtesy, media studies in the College of Media, Communication and Information at the University of Colorado Boulder. His research centers on the international history of communication and media studies, intellectual history, feminist historiography, and the interdisciplinary connections of rhetoric with philosophy, political theory, sociology, and anthropology. He is the author of Refiguring Mass Communication: A History, and editor or co-editor of The International History of Communication Study, The Handbook of Communication History, and Politics, Social Networks, and the History of Mass Communications Research: Re-Reading Personal Influence.


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