Social fears and moral panics

A call for papers has been issued for the next IAMHIST conference, due to be held in Aberystwyth, Wales, 8-11 July 2009, and incorporating the 3rd Gregynog Media History Conference. IAMHIST, or the International Association for Media and History, is an organisation comprising scholars, filmmakers, archivists and broadcasters interested in the intertwined themes of history and film (and television, and radio, and related media). It holds a conference every two years, and in 2009 the theme is to be ‘Social Fears and Moral Panics’ – certainly something with great potential for those engaged with the silent film era. Here’s how they describe it:

The aim of the conference is to explore both the role of the media in addressing, highlighting or perpetuating social fears, and the mass media itself as a perceived moral agent and/or threat. Topics to address might thus include questions of media content and/or language; concerns about public intrusion; censorship and the freedom of information; the reporting of crimes or disasters; invasion and security fears in times of peace or war; religious, cultural and/or linguistic fears; fears relating to youth or children, or to minority groups; fears relating to particular behaviours, pursuits or leisure activities; ‘golden ageism’.

We welcome paper proposals that address the theme in both contemporary and/or historical perspective; proposals which engage with the theme comparatively (both geographically and temporally); and proposals which engage with theoretical approaches, including the social theory of moral panic.

We also welcome proposals on their work in progress from postgraduate and early-career scholars in the field of media history, including on topics that may not be on the conference theme.

Proposals for complete panels (three themed papers) are welcome, as well as individual paper submissions. Papers presented at the conference should be 25-30 minutes in length and should use illustrative material (for instance film clips) wherever possible.

Abstracts of no more than 300 words per paper should be sent to Dr Sian Nicholas by 14 November 2008 at c/o Department of History and Welsh History, Aberystwyth University, Penglais, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion SY23 3DY, Wales UK.

The conference is being organised by IAMHIST, in association with the Centre for Media History and Departments of History and Welsh History, and Theatre, Film and Television, Aberystwyth University, the Department of Media and Communications, Swansea University, and the journals Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television and Media History, with the support of the National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales, National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth.

For further details, see the call for papers on the Aberyswyth University web site. For further information on IAMHIST and its many activities and interest, visit And for the Bioscope’s take on last year’s conference, held in Amsterdam, on empires and such like, go here.

Incidentally, you do wish those planning such events took a look at the calendar (even the Bioscope’s calendar) first. There are now three conferences on history and the visual media taking place in Britain in July 2009 – the others are Visual Empires at the University of Sheffield, and Colour and the Moving Image at the University of Bristol. Come on somebody – show a little consideration, please.