In order to build our online ESPRit community, we are organising a series of one-hour online seminars in collaboration with the ETMIET/KENI team from Panteion University (Athens).  Available recordings of past seminars are published on this page.

26 March 2021 (chair: Peter Buse, Liverpool University)
Keynote lecture by Victoria Kuttainen (James Cook University, Autralia): “Portholes, Channels, and Seductions: The Messy Affordances of Antipodean Periodical Scholarship”

16 April 2021 (chair: Sophie Oliver, Liverpool University)

- Júlia Fazekas (ELTE University, Budapest), “Popularity of Hungarian and European fashion magazines in the 1840s”


- Charlotte Lauder (University of Strathclyde and National Library of Scotland), “Pithy people: the People’s Friend, a national magazine for Scotland”

14 May 2021 (chair: Andrés Mario Zervigón, Rutgers University)

- Patrick Rössler (University of Erfurt), “From Simplicissimus to Simplicus and Der Simpl. Satire magazines between Nazi gleichschaltung and exile, 1934-35”

- Mary Ikoniadou (University of Central Lancashire), “Refugee publishing. The case study of the Greek political refugees in East Germany. Imaginings and aesthetics of repatriation amidst Cold War borders”

5 November 2021 (chair: Maaike Koffeman, Radboud University)

Keynote lecture by Evanghelia Stead (Institut Universitaire de France / Université de Versailles), 'Exploring Periodicals through Images and Networks'

Abstract: Supported by individual investigation and collaborative work, the presentation offers a comparative and interdisciplinary approach to periodicals. It broaches the beneficial effects of collective exchange, and flags up some of the counter-productive effects and burdens. It embraces not so much strict methodologies as tactics and ploys to variously approach such a varied and complex field. The talk first discusses visual studies and interdisciplinarity. There follows an overview of group work on periodical networks, stressing the importance of relational dynamics. It further shows the preconceptions and limitations behind such expressions as “little magazine” and the recurrent split separating big mags from small reviews. Its conclusion reasons why periodicals are so fascinating and invites further discussion.

19 November 2021 (chair: Peter Buse, Liverpool University)

- Susann Liebich (Heidelberg University), 'A New Zealand ‘quality magazine’: The Monocle, 1937-1939'

- Felix Larkin, 'Periodicals and Journalism in Twentieth-Century Ireland'

10 December 2021 (chair: Aled Jones, Panteion University, Athens) 

1) Yelizaveta Raykhlina (New York University), 'From Paris to the Russian Provinces: Russian-language Fashion Magazines of the late 1830s and 1840s as Domains of Cultural Adaptation and Women’s Entrepreneurship'

2) Effrosyni Zacharatou (Athens School of Fine Arts), From Europe to Greece: The illustrated magazine as a distinct form

Friday 8 April 2022 (chair: Aled Jones):

Filippos Tsiboglou (Director General of the National Library of Greece), ‘Expanding the services of the National Library of Greece to researchers, public, libraries, society and next generations’

13 May 2022 (chair: Peter Buse):

1) Zsuzsa Török (Research Centre for the Humanities, Institute for Literary Studies, Budapest), ‘Sources for Anonymous Contributors to Periodicals: The Case of the Hungarian Stephanie Wohl and The Scotsman

2) Levente T. Szabó (Babeș-Bolyai University), ‘Reconstructing the Entangled History of the First International Journal of Comparative Literary Studies’

17 June 2022 (Chair: Mara Logaldo):

1) Nora Ramtke (Ruhr-Universität Bochum), ‘Europa (1835-1844) and its Supplements: Archiving the Abundance’

2) Hannah Connell (King’s College London and British Library), ‘Uncovering the relationships between periodicals through editorial correspondence: Networks of Russian-language emigre periodicals in interwar Paris’

8 December 2022 (Chair: Fionnuala Dillane, University College Dublin):

Joint RSVP/Esprit Online Seminar on The Foreign Language Press, with speakers from TransfoPressthe Transnational network for the study of foreign language press from the 18th-20th century:

  • Diana Cooper-Richet (Université Paris-Saclay): "The Transfopress network (2012-2022): object, activities, publications".
  • Jennifer Hayward (Wooster college, Ohio) and Michelle Prain (Universidad Adolfo Ibànez, Valparaiso): "The English-Language press in Chile: 19th Century global networks to 21st Century digital dialogues".
  • Nicolas Pitsos (BULAC/Université Paris-Saclay): "The foreign-language press and the emergence of a polyphonic capital: the case of Paris".
  • Isabelle Richet (Université Paris Cité): "Helen Zimmern and the Italian Gazette: the editor as cultural go-between".

20 January 2023 (Chair: Peter Buse, University of Liverpool):

New Computational Approaches to Periodical Studies

  • Thomas Smits (Antwerp University): 'Distant Viewing the Illustrated World of the Illustrated London News, 1842-1900'
  • Kaspar Beelen (Alan Turing Institute, UK), 'Mining Victorian Metadata. A computational analysis of historical press directories'
  • Ben Lee (University of Washington), 'Newspaper Navigator: Reimagining Digitized Newspapers with Machine Learning'

3 February 2023 (Chair: Mara Logaldo, Università IULM):

Spaces of Translation: European Magazine Culture, 1945-1965

The members of the research group Spaces of Translation from Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz and Nottingham Trent University (Marina Popea, Dana Steglich, and Andrew Thacker) share some of the results from the project.

3 March 2023 (Chair: Barbara Winckler, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster):

Knowledge transfer and materiality in and around avant-garde journals

  • Gábor Dobó (Kassák Museum–Petőfi Literary Museum, Budapest), ‘Comrades and censors: Tracing implied and actual readers of radical periodicals during the interwar period’
  • Merse Pál Szeredi Dobó (Kassák Museum–Petőfi Literary Museum, Budapest), ‘No clichés. Conflicting aspects of knowledge production and printing techniques of avant-garde periodicals’

Autumn 2023: Seminar series on transnational periodical research

This series of work-in-progress sessions is led by colleagues contributing to the Brill Handbook of Transnational Periodical Research, edited by Marianne Van Remoortel and Fionnuala Dillane, which is planned for publication in 2025. Seminar participants will each speak for 8-10 minutes on the challenges of ‘transnational’ work and on questions that their work-in-progress has raised to date. The workshops aim to deepen and enrich understandings of what we mean by transnational periodical research, including considerations of the usefulness and limitations of the ‘transnational’. As work-in-progress sessions, we also hope to open up discussions about our methodologies and strategies as periodical researchers. Each session will be one hour long, conversational in format, and audience participation will be encouraged. Each workshop will be held on zoom and registration links are included below. We look forward to seeing you and to the ongoing discussions.

Work-in-Progress Workshop 1: Monday 25 September 2023 with

  • Gábor Dobó and Merse Szeredi (Petőfi Literary Museum–Kassák Museum, Budapest) on Networks and the Avant-Garde
  • Henriette Partzsch (University of Glasgow) on Translation and Genres
  • Marguérite Corporaal (Radboud University) on Travelling Localism

Work-in-Progress Workshop 2: Monday 2 Oct 2023 with

  • Cedric van Dijck (Vrije Universiteit Brussel) on Empire
  • Stephan Pigeon (St Francis Xavier University, New Brunswick) on Scissors and Paste
  • Sukeshi Kamra (Carleton University, Ottawa) on Postcolonialism/Transimperialism

Work-in-Progress Workshop 3: Tuesday 10 October 2023 with

  • Sophie van den Elzen (Utrecht University) on Rebels
  • Sara Marzagora and Malak Abdelkhalek (King’s College London) on Internationalism, Solidarity and Pedagogy

‘Periodicals and the Law’ Network online seminar series

This seminar series will initially be organised during the 2023-2024 academic year by Aled Jones and Gioula Koutsopanagou, supported by a sub-group comprising Mara Logaldo and Nora Ramtke. Its purpose is to create a network for the creation of collaborative, transnational and comparative work on press regulation and press practices in print and visual material in and across different national contexts with respect to the law, and to the law-related professions of journalists, lawyers, lawmakers. and legal periodicals. Subjects may include: IP and copyright in the context of the notion of protected work, such as printed and visual material (photographs and artworks), moral rights (appropriation art, remixes), ownership (authors and editors, printed matter, photographers, reporters), exceptions and limitations (fair use), infringements, Creative Commons license, civil law protection (rights of privacy, right of publicity, personal data protection), fiscal policies, libel legislation, obscenity laws, state censorship, court injunctions, and state security restrictions (e.g. for national defence in wartime). The field also includes studies of the persecution and prosecution of reporters, editors, writers and publishers, legal restrictions on ownership (e.g. anti-Trust, anti-monopoly laws), media laws covering advertising, laws covering reporter access (e.g. the UK Lobby system), or geographic areas/militarised zones of restricted access, and war reporting. It is envisaged that work undertaken by researchers in their own institutions or individually, based on local/national collections, with an interdisciplinary approach, may then be considered in a broader, multinational context. The online seminars will each last one hour and will consist of two papers of 15 minutes each, followed by discussion.

Seminar 1: 17 November 2023 (chair: Nora Ramtke)

JELENA LALATOVIĆ (Institute for Literature and Art, Belgrade): “Campaigning Against State Repression in the Periodical Press: Censorship and Resistance in the Yugoslav Context (1928˗1938)”

In 1928 a prominent Yugoslav writer August Cesarec issued a newspaper The Protection of a Human: an Independent Herald for Human and Civil Rights aimed at campaigning against the Law for the protection of the state, whose main goal was to curb free speech and freedom of expression in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. The newspaper The Protection of a Human thus represents the first periodical of this genre (entirely dedicated to a single cause) in the history of Yugoslav periodicals. Additionally, it established a specific rhetoric of defending the position of the free press, specifically in the genre of reporting. The aim of the research is twofold. Firstly, I would like to explore how the left-wing periodical press of the thirties, which were succumbed to severe censorship and persecution by the authorities, inherited and developed the strategies and tactics set as an example by Cesarec’s newspaper. Along with that, I would like to elaborate on whether this analysis allows us to outline a new classification of these periodicals on the basis that they cherished a specific meta-dimension embodied in their rhetoric and editorial underpinnings – deliberation on the position of the press in an authoritarian society. In other words, I use the Yugoslav context as a case study to examine how the legal framework (including the pretexts such as a libel or offense to restrain the freedom of expression) influenced the typology and morphology of the socially and politically engaged periodicals. The methodology I use relies on a comparative reading of the rhetoric and practice of censorship, which includes an examination of the archival documents of the Central Press Bureau, and periodicals whose editorial policy was based on a systematic opposition to repression and censorship.

Jelena Lalatović is a Belgrade-based researcher. She obtained her PhD having defended a thesis entitled ‘The Genres of Literary Criticism and Polemic in the Student Periodical Press: the Oppositional Public Sphere from 1937 to 1968’ at the University of Belgrade. She is currently working on a monograph based on the doctoral research. Along with Dr Dario Boemia she has been organizing a conference ‘Between Distant and Close Reading: Periodical Studies and Humanities in the 21st Century’. Her field of interest includes cultural and literary studies, as well as political and intellectual history, and its impact on literature. She works as a research assistant at the Institute for Literature and Art.

MICHAEL LÖRCH (Researcher and translator): “Decentralized Censorship in a Centralized State: The ‘Guidance and Control’ of Scholarly Periodicals in the German Democratic Republic”

The 1949 constitution of the German Democratic Republic boldly declared in its 9th article that “There is no press censorship”. The country’s second constitution of 1968 avoided the taboo word of ‘censorship’ altogether, declaring instead that the “Freedom of the press, radio and television is guaranteed”. Consequently, there would never be any official law or regulatory text detailing the practice of censorship taking place in the East German state. Instead, the heavily centralized country relied on a decentralized system of ‘control and guidance’, transferring much of the responsibility on individual editors, authors, and other media professionals. Those, however, could, for most of the time, not rely on any document and instead had to anticipate what Party officials deemed printable, creating an atmosphere of mistrust and uncertainty. The practice of censorship therefore took place in a legal grey area, with State and Party relying on the use of euphemisms such as ‘guidance’, ‘control’ and ‘support, framing acts of censorship as sponsorship or the result of economic shortages. Much of the censorship therefore occurred in the form of pre- and self-censorship. The lack of a written law nonetheless created some leeway that resourceful editors and authors could carefully exploit. While these mechanisms have been subject of scholarly interest regarding the country’s book, newspaper and film production, the effect on periodicals has so far been neglected. This paper will therefore illustrate the ‘guidance and control’ exerted on even the most peripheral periodicals by looking at the Zeitschrift für Anglistik und Amerikanistik (1953-present), a scholarly journal of the humanities. Based on the journal and archival material, I will explore how the journal’s editors navigated this system of censorship without a censorship authority and how it influenced the journal and its contents. I will equally investigate how the journal participated in a wider movement, involving various forms of published and unpublished material, to widen the country’s literary canon and academic horizon, for which the ZAA’s international visibility and the very form of the scholarly journal provided opportunities and justifications.

Michael Lörch is a researcher and translator based in Strasbourg, France. He recently finished his PhD thesis under the title of The Politics of the Scholarly Journal: The Zeitschrift für Anglistik und Amerikanistik (ZAA) as a Link between Academia, Publishing Industry and Politics. He is currently working on a monograph based on the doctoral research and an article on the Anglophone Press in 19th-century Germany. He worked as research assistant at the Germersheim Campus of the Johannes-Gutenberg University Mainz. His fields of interest include periodical studies and the role of politics and economics in modern and contemporary North American literature.

Seminar 2: 19 December 2023 (chair: Aled Jones)

ANDREW KING (University of Greenwich): ‘Beyond the Taxes on Knowledge: the Law and the 1860s English Press’

Summed up in Carlyle’s famous notion of the press as “the Fourth Estate”, discussions of the Law and the British press in the nineteenth century have often been framed in gendered terms of a heroic struggle for freedom from government where opposition to the so-called “Taxes on Knowledge” from the 1830s to 50s has been a focal point. However, regulation of the press is conceptually much more complex than one issue or slogan (however effective such a unifying slogan can be). The laws concerning the press are many and varied, involving diverse actants in a multitude of conflicts on small and large scales: government and legislature (not always identical); owners and managers (again, maybe with different and conflicting aims); workers of many different kinds in manufacturing and distribution; consumers. I shall briefly relate a few case studies concerning some of the remaining legal regulations of the press in the 1860s after the last of the “Taxes on Knowledge” had been repealed in 1861, legal regulations concerning obscenity, libel, copyright, and – very often forgotten altogether – the labour conditions of both printers and distributors.

Andrew King is Professor of English at the University of Greenwich, London. He was the founding editor of Victorian Popular Fictions and is the author or editor of 8 books and many articles on the nineteenth-century press and popular fiction, most recently Work and the Nineteenth-Century Press (2022). He's currently working on a chapter on the global economics of the periodical and a 4-volume collection of annotated primary sources with Marysa Demoor, Andrew Hobbs and Lisa Peters on Geographies of the Press. This seminar paper comes out of a chapter he's written for a volume on the 1860s edited by Pamela Gilbert coming out from CUP in 2024.

ANN HALE (British and Irish Legal Information Institute): ‘Business Matters: Examining Legal Frameworks Underpinning the Periodical Press’

The legal structures underpinning the business entities that make up the periodical press receive little scholarly attention, yet every entity associated with the press takes a particular legal form, and forms can change over time. Reading across single or multiple enterprises can reconceptualize how the press was organized and who participated in it. This presentation suggests an approach for examining legal frameworks and provides an overview of key subjects to keep in mind. Inspired by Linda K. Hughes’s “sideways” approach to print culture, it reads across multiple enterprises, legal entities, and intersecting networks linked to George Newnes (1851–1910), the publisher of influential general-audience periodicals such as Tit-Bits (1881–1985), a penny weekly, and the Strand Magazine (1891–1950), an illustrated monthly. While the example entities are rooted in the common law, Britain, and the 1890s, the approach and underlying concepts are broadly applicable to other jurisdictions and entities. 

Ann M. Hale is an independent scholar and the Executive Director of the British and Irish Legal Information Institute (BAILII). She completed her PhD at the University of Greenwich in 2020, and her thesis, “Business Matters: Legal Structures, Roles, People, and Places in the Nineteenth-Century Press—A Case Study of George Newnes Limited,” was awarded RSVP’s inaugural 2021 Sally Mitchell Dissertation Prize.