Transnational Periodical Cultures

In recent years, the scholarly attention to print culture, the history of the book, and digital humanities created a new awareness of the importance of serialized media in American history and culture. Under the umbrella term “periodical studies,” scholars began to focus on newspapers, magazines, and journals circulating in the Atlantic World from the colonial period to the present.  Meanwhile, periodical studies has turned into an autonomous field of research setting into dialogue literary and culture studies, material and visual studies as well as media and communication studies, with translation studies still largely ignored, but waiting to be included. As periodicals played a key role in addressing diverse audiences and their hunger for entertainment, news, and knowledge, periodical studies can build upon an expansive archive of serialized publications

The collaborative research group “Transnational Periodical Studies” investigates the dense texture resulting from multiple authorships, editorial and layout strategies, print businesses, content, advertisement, distribution and subscription as well as all aspects related to the “doing” of periodicals in transnational contexts.  It raises questions about how to decode and theorize periodicals. In addition, it explores the textual communities evolving from periodicals, specific networks and forms of agency between consumers and producers. From a historical perspective (1800s to the present), it also studies different periodical genres in fields such as literature, religion, sports, politics, and popular culture to understand periodicals not as containers of messages but as dynamic agents of social and cultural change, especially in light of recent transformations from off-line to online periodicals.