27 February – 1 March 2019Tele(visualising) Health: TV, Public Health, its Enthusiasts and its Publics
Televisions began to appear in the homes of large numbers of the public in Europe and
North America after World War II. This coincided with a period in which ideas about the
public’s health, the problems that it faced and the solutions that could be offered, were
changing. The threat posed by infectious diseases was receding, to be replaced by chronic
conditions linked to lifestyle and individual behaviour.
Public health professionals were enthusiastic about how this new technology and mass
advertising could reach out to individuals in the population with the new message about
lifestyle and risk. TV offered a way to reach large numbers of people with public health
messages; it symbolised the post war optimism about new directions in public health.
But it could also act as a contributory factor to those new public health problems. Watching
TV was part of a shift towards more sedentary lifestyles, and also a vehicle through which
products that were damaging to health, such as alcohol, cigarettes and unhealthy food, could
be advertised to the public. Population health problems could be worsened by TV viewing.
How should we understand the relationship between TV and public health? What are the
key changes and continuities over time and place? How does thinking about the relationship
between public health and TV change our understanding of both?
In this three-day conference, we seek to explore questions such as:
- How did the enthusiasm develop for TV within public health?
- How were shifts in public health, problems, policies and practices represented on TV?
- How was TV used to improve or hinder public health?
- What aspects of public health were represented on TV, and what were not?
- How did the public respond to health messages on TV?
- What were the perceived limitations of TV as a mass medium for public health?
- In what way was TV different from other forms of mass media in relation to public health?
- How were institutions concerned with the public’s health present – and staged – on TV broadcasts?
The conference aims to bring together scholars from different fields (such as, but not limited
to, history, history of science, history of medicine, communication, media and film studies,
television studies) working on the history of television in Great Britain, France and Germany
(West and East) (the focus of the ERC BodyCapital project), but also other European
countries, North and South America, Russia, Asia or other countries and areas.
Calls for papers
9-13 april 2018Visual History in the Twentieth Century: Bodies, Practices and EmotionsSpring School of the ERC-project “The Healthy Self as Body Capital”
The twentieth century is the century in which modern mass media irreversibly permeated
and transformed nearly all aspects of politics and society. This can be exemplified by the
impact that film and television had on medicine, health policy and education, from early
medical films that made new images of illness and therapy accessible to health experts, to
the “Kulturfilme” of the 1920s that propagated a modern conception of the body to cinemagoers,
to educational films produced by the state for use in schools, to ads informing people
about AIDS prevention and health talk shows on TV. Visual mass media are constantly
reflecting and shaping our conceptions and perceptions of the body and health, as well as
the bodily and health practices we engage in. For their part, they are often influenced by
economics. Seen in this way, a history of the body, embodiment and emotions in the
twentieth century is also a history of the mass media.
- The history of sexuality and reproduction;
- The history of dependence and addiction (medicine, drugs, alcohol).
The spring school seeks to familiarize young scholars with the topic “Visual History in the
Twentieth Century: Bodies, Practices, and Emotions” and bring them into contact with
experts in the field. It will introduce them to relevant theoretical approaches and they will
discuss source material together in order to tackle questions like:
- What theories and approaches of media analysis and historical contextualization are
useful for work on this topic?
- What primary and secondary sources are relevant and how can we get access to
- How can we identify and analyze emotions, forms of subjectivation, and perceptions
of the body in historical media?
- What can we say about audiences and their use and reception of the various media
The spring school includes talks and workshops with experts, a field trip to the technical
collection of the Potsdam Film Museum, a roundtable discussion, and film viewings. Further,
the springschool will benefit from a cooperation with the French Institut National de
l’Audiovisuel (INA) and will be attended by the director of the INAthèque, Claude Mussou.
Additionally, Prof. Dr. Frank Bösch (Director of the Center for Historical Research (ZZF),
Potsdam) will hold a keynote lecture on “War, Films, and Emotions, 1895–1960.”
Participants will also be invited to present on their own research projects.
The spring school will be held at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin. It
will be held in English. Participants can apply for funding for travel costs, and housing can be
provided if needed.
Interested master’s students, doctoral students, post-docs, and scholars in the fields of
modern history, the history of medicine and science, and film studies, media studies, and
communications are invited to apply with a cover letter and CV.
Please send applications and any questions to Philipp Stiasny: email@example.com
The deadline for applications is 18 February 2018 and applicants will be contacted by 26
February 2018. Early applications are welcome!
The ERC project will send out a call for applications for doctoral positions in spring 2018.
Participation in the spring school is not a requirement for applying, but it will give those
interested a chance to become familiar with the project’s work and source material and
meet the scholars working on it.
The digital platform of teaching and research MedFilm is a collaborative initiative accommodated by the University of Strasbourg.
Every person who wishes to participate in the constitution of the database, in the location of medical and sanitary utilitarian movies or the writing of notes about movies is invited to contact us at: MedFilm ( at ) unistra.fr.
The information contained on the platform MedFilm is validated in an academic way before their publication by the editorial persons in charge of MedFilm. The writers are recognized and mentioned as authors of the produced texts.
Collaborations can be made either from movies already spotted by ourselves either from outside suggestions. The latter have to concern utilitarian movies / unpublished for which we can obtain an authorization of restricted on-line publishing.
We hold at the disposal of the writers aform of blank typical analysis. The persons in charge of MedFilm wish that the site is mentioned to medfilm.unistra.fr when a communication or a publication leans on the movies that it puts on-line or the contents of the concerned notes.
|10-11 December 2018From body capital to the Internet. New media, new modes of representation, new uses
ERC BodyCapital is a research project centred on audio-visual representations of the body in the twentieth century, up to the birth of YouTube in 2005. BodyCapital considers the birth of the Internet as the point at which film and television were succeeded as modes of mass communication, wherein a new space for democratised content and new forms of expression and sociability was created and developed. The Internet has foregrounded both the broad potential of multimedia and the logic of networking practices for the mass audience. It has consequently opened up a new field of distribution within and responding to known structures (institutions, companies, traditional media) whilst reconfiguring relationships between the mass media and its publics. In this sense, Internet has established a mode of interactivity, inspiring individual initiatives through the creation of personal sites.
INA-Grand Est, 31 rue Kageneck (1e étage), 67000 Strasbourg, France
To register, or for further information, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeudi 22 novembre 2018Cinéma et syphilis en temps de guerre
Une occasion unique de découvrir des films de propagande anti-syphilitique anciens et de participer à une discussion interdisciplinaire sur la place des infections sexuellement transmises (IST) dans les sociétés d’hier et d’aujourd’hui !
Entrée libre le 22 novembre 2018 de 12h à 16h30, aux Hôpitaux Universitaire de Genève (précisions à venir).
Pour cette 3e édition de “Cinéma et syphilis”, nous nous intéresserons aux films de prévention produits au cours de la Deuxième Guerre mondiale. Au programme : projection d’extraits de Sex Hygiene (US, John Ford, 1941), Ein Wort von Mann zu Mann (GER, Alfred Stöger, 1941), L‘ennemi secret (FR, J.K Raymond-Millet, 1945), suivie de discussions avec nos experts invités. (Programme définitif à suivre.)
Organisation : Prof. Alexandre Wenger (UniGe), Dre Laurence Toutous-Trellu (HUG), Prof. Christian Bonah (UniStra)
7-8 June 2018, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, BerlinExcess images of body, health, morality and emotions across the media
The concept of excess is ambivalent: It can signify phenomena ranging from certain religious practices to drug abuse to aspects of consumer culture; it can be an empowering self-description or a stigmatizing judgment. This openness is also reflected in a variety of closely related terms that are sometimes shared by multiple languages, such as "ecstasy," "exstase," and "Ekstase" in English, French, and German, but which might also be associated with divergent concepts like "frenzy," "ivresse," or "Rausch." The workshop seeks to analyze these facets of excess and asks how excess has been perceived and constructed in different media. It aims to explore how images of the body, health, morality and emotions varied over history, across cultures, and how the media themselves have contributed to the ways in which the concept of excess has been shaped and used.