She will be missed: Christine Whittaker, 1942-2017


It is with great sadness that I must on behalf of the IAMHIST Council tell members that our friend and former president Christine Whittaker has died. Christine was a long-term member of IAMHIST who served as president from 2001 to 2004.  She brought much to our organization as one of the most prominent members with a background in practice rather than academia. 

Christine – née Smith — was born on 22 December 1942 in the Northumberland town of Corbridge, on Hadrian’s Wall.  She was educated at the University of Leeds where she read French and German.  Her initial hope was to work for the Foreign Office as a translator, but when they turned her down she went to work for the BBC.  Her first job was at the BBC World Service with a unit broadcasting in French to Canada.  She moved within the corporation to the current affairs outfit based at Lime Grove where she worked on a program called 24 Hours, but it was when she moved to a third post at the feature/documentary unit at Kensington House.  Her projects included a series of helicopter-films called Bird’s-Eye View (1969-1971) some episodes of which were written and narrated by the great English poet Sir John Betjeman, with whom Christine enjoyed working.  Others working on the series included two crazy Polish pilots, the distinguished producer/director Edward Mirzoeff and a cameraman named Graham Whittaker whom she married in 1972.  Christine and Mirzoeff worked together with Betjeman on two more films – Metro-Land (1973) and A Passion For Churches (1974), both of which are now considered classics. While at Kensington House Christine found her forte.  Her tasks included researching a series of short films about major events in World War Two including the attack on the Tirpitz and the Norwegian resistance raid on the Nazi Heavy Water Plant all of which required her to locate archive film to illustrate the story.  The process of finding historical film became her great professional passion and she became very good at it.  In due course Christine received full credit as ‘producer (archives)’ in a string of major BBC projects.  Her CV included some of the gems of television history including a history of work called All our Working Lives (1984), the path-breaking history of women’s experience in the twentieth century Out of the Dolls House (1988) of which she was especially proud and the Emmy-award winning The People’s Century, (1995-97).  Her work was often featured in the Timewatch strand of historical documentaries which ran for many years on BBC 2.  She was much admired by her colleagues in the television industry and by those who provided the film she used.  In 2006 she was honored with a lifetime achievement award by FOCAL (the Federation of Commercial Audio Visual Libraries).

At IAMHIST Christine provided leadership during a time of change.  She was kind and generous with her help to younger scholars and practitioners alike as a regular participant in master classes and she worked hard to maintain the presence of top-level practitioners at IAMHIST conferences.  She was saddened by the changes in historical television and the decline of the in-house production teams of which she’d been part, and often shared a sense that she had been fortunate to be part of a golden age at the BBC.  Christine took a great interest in the wider lives of her IAMHIST colleagues and always enjoyed meeting their families and children.  Christine had two children, Georgina and Jack, and in recent years became a grandmother also.  Her final years were marked by a struggle first with Parkinson’s Disease and then with cancer; she died of complications arising from these conditions with her family close by on 16 August.  She will be much missed and our thoughts go out to Graham, Georgina, Jack and all her family at this sad time.  Colleagues who wish to mark her passing might consider donating in her name to the Meadow House Hospice [link], who took care of her during her final weeks.  The hospice mailing address is Macmillan Nursing, Meadow House Hospice, Uxbridge Road, Southall, Middlesex, UB1 3HW.

Nick Cull

President, IAMHIST.

Candidates for the 2017 IAMHIST council election

Brett Bowles, James Chapman, Leen Engelen, Tobias Hochscherf, Ekaterina Kalinina, Katharina Niemeyer, Roel Vande Winkel, Johnny Walker, Jessica Whitehead

Brett Bowles I am a specialist of contemporary France, focusing on film and other visual media as forms of social and political discourse. I wrote a book about the fiction films of Marcel Pagnol (Manchester UP, 2012) and have published numerous journal articles and book chapters on newsreels and documentaries produced during the Second World War by the Vichy French government and the Nazis. Most recently, I began a new comparative project on American and French illustrated posters in the context of the First World War, with an eye to expanding the scope to Great Britain and Germany in what I hope will become a book.

In addition to serving on the editorial boards or co-editing journals such as French Historical Studies, French History, and Modern & Contemporary France, I have been a member of IAMHIST since 2004, editing book reviews for the HJFRT from 2005 to 2016 and serving on the IAMHIST council for much of that same period. I also had the nerve-wracking pleasure of hosting the IAMHIST conference in Bloomington in 2015. I owe the association and the journal a large debt of gratitude for having been two of the most influential forces on me intellectually and professionally.

Beyond expanding my knowledge into areas that I might not otherwise have explored, they allowed me to meet many new research collaborators and friends from all over the world. I hope to continue on the IAMHIST council not only to continue benefitting from that dynamic, but to “pay forward” what the journal and association have given me to younger scholars in earlier stages of their careers.

James Chapman is Professor of Film Studies at the University of Leicester (UK). He has been a member of the IAMHIST Council since 2006 and editor of the Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television since 2011.

James specialises in British cinema and television history, the politics of popular fictions and questions of research methodologies in film and media history. He is author or co-author of 14 books including The British at War: Cinema, State and Propaganda, 1939-1945 (I.B. Tauris, 1998), Past and Present: National Identity and the British Historical Film (I.B. Tauris, 2005), War and Film (Reaktion, 2008), British Comics: A Cultural History (2011), A New History of British Documentary (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015) and Swashbucklers: The costume adventure series (Manchester University Press, 2015).

Leen Engelen – I am a media historian based at LUCA School of Arts and KU Leuven in Belgium. I studied Social Sciences at the universities of Leuven and Ulster (Northern Ireland) and I received a PhD from Leuven University. I have published on film history and visual culture in several national and international academic journals and I am co-editor (with Roel Vande Winkel) of Perspectives on European Film and History (Academia Press, 2007) and (with Kris Van Heuckelom) of European Cinema after the Wall. East-West Mobility in Post 1989 European Cinema (Rowman & Littlefield, 2012). My current research interests include cinema culture and trade before the Second World War, New cinema history, history of the film trade, film and the First World War, picture postcards and (movie) ephemera. I have been an active IAMHIST council member since 2004, including 11 years as IAHMIST secretary-general. I recently became vice-president of the association. In this capacity I co-organise the annual IAMHIST master class and, since 2017, the IAMHIST Challenge. I communicate with the IAMHIST members about current IAMHIST affairs and calls and I organise the council elections.

Tobias Hochscherf is Professor of Audiovisual Media at the University of Applied Sciences Kiel and the University of Flensburg in Germany. He studied German, English and Media at the universities in Hamburg and Kiel and received a PhD from the University of Liverpool (UK). From 2006 to 2009 he worked as senior lecturer in film and television studies at Northumbria University (UK). Owing to a background in broadcast journalism and filmmaking, he is editor-in-chief of the student radio station in Kiel. He teaches a variety of undergraduate (BA) and postgraduate (MA) modules on media, film and television – including courses on film and television history, media theory, radio broadcasting, mobile journalism and film production. In summer 2017 he will be teaching a course on wartime propaganda at the LSU Honors College as visiting professor.

He is Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (UK) and Associate Dean at the Faculty of Media at the University of Applied Sciences in Kiel. Tobias Hochscherf’s research focuses on film and television history as well as contemporary television drama; he has recently co-edited a themed issue of the Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television with Katharina Niemeyer of historical dimensions of film theory (2016) and published Beyond the Bridge: Contemporary Danish Television Drama (2017). He, too, is author of The Continental Connection: German-speaking Émigrés and British Cinema, 1927-45 (2011) and co-editor of Divided, but not disconnected: German experiences of the Cold War (2010) and British Science Fiction Film and Television: Critical Essays (2011). He is associate editor of the Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, The Journal of Popular Television and the the Journal of Scandinavian Cinema.

Ekaterina Kalinina is a postdoctoral researcher at Department of Art and Cultural Studies  at  Copenhagen University, Denmark. She completed her PhD in Media and Communication Studies with the project ‘Mediated post-Soviet nostalgia’ at  Södertörn  University, Sweden. She worked as a  research  fellow at Swedish National Defence University researching on the questions of patriotism, biopolitics, nostalgia and national identity. Ekaterina Kalinina is also actively engaged in practice based research and works as a project manager at the Swedish organization Nordkonst, where she runs cultural projects and conducts research on cross-cultural artistic practices and intercultural communication. She is currently a head of a collaborative street art project Nord2Nord financed by Swedish Institute. She is also a founding member of the International Media and Nostalgia Network. Her current post doc project ‘Uncertainty of Digital Archives: Exploring nostalgia and civic engagement’ investigates the role of affective mnemonic experiences, such as nostalgia, in triggering social mobilisation in digital and physical environments.

My motivation to join the council of IAMHIST is determined by a will to make it an organisation of media historians with a growing number of young scholars and women. First of all, I believe that media history field should deserve more attention of  young researchers who are working with contemporary media development in the modern political context. Second, I would like to see the organisation having a greater visibility among scholars from Nordic contexts and Eastern Europe, especially Russia and Ukraine, which until now are almost absent. This could be done through increasing ambassadorship among young scholars coming and studying the region and stimulating participation by attracting additional funding. Knowing the language and having contacts in the region I would be able to contribute to this development. Third, my passion also lays in supporting female scholars and providing equal opportunities and I would like to take task on advancing this idea in the organisation.

Katharina Niemeyer – I am a council member of the International Association for Media and History – webmaster and community manager for the association and from July 2017 on, book review editor of the Historical Journal for Film, Radio and Television. This is why I wish to stand for election again as I enjoy the work between historians and media scholars.

Media culture, media and communication theory and memory studies are my major fields of research. I am particularly interested in the relation of media, memory, history and nostalgia and co-founded the International Media and Nostalgia Network in 2015 after having edited the volume Media and Nostalgia. Yearning for the past, present and future in 2014 (Palgrave Macmillan). I also work on (international) media events; their ‘liveness’ and commemorations or artistic extensions and transformations. Related to these topics I published several articles and two books (Die Mediasphären des Terrorismus, Avinus, Berlin, 2006 / De la chute du mur de Berlin au 11 Septembre 2001, Antipodes, Lausanne, 2011). A special journal issue, co-edited with Frédéric Lambert for Communications et Langages just came out: Les devenirs artistiques de l’information.

I am a professor for media theory at the University of Quebec in Montreal (The Media School) and used to be an Associate Professor at the French Press Institute / University Paris 2, Sorbonne Universities and was a visiting scholar at Media@McGill from February-June 2017.

Roel Vande Winkel (Belgium) is associate editor of the ‘Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television’ and ran its (European) book review section for nearly 14 years (2004-2017). His publications include ‘ Cinema and the Swastika – The International Expansion of Third Reich Cinema’ (with D. Welch) and ‘Silencing Cinema – Film Censorship around the World’ (with D. Biltereyst). His research focuses on film (production, exhibition, distribution) in Europe (1918-1945) and on newsreels and documentaries in the interwar years and in the Second World War. He is professor of film & TV studies at the KU Leuven and at the LUCA School of Arts in Belgium.

Johnny Walker is Senior Lecturer in Media at Northumbria University in the UK, prior to which he was Lecturer in Film Studies within the Cinema and Television History (CATH) Research Centre at De Montfort University. His research interests comprise cultural and industrial histories of popular film genres and home-viewing technologies. His academic writing in these areas has appeared in various journals such as the Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Post Script and the Journal of British Cinema and Television, and in collections such as the Routledge Companion to British Cinema History (2017), Italian Horror Cinema (2016) and Merchants of Menace: The Business of Horror Cinema (2014). His books include, as author, Contemporary British Horror Cinema: Industry, Genre and Society (Edinburgh University Press, 2015) and, as co-editor, Grindhouse: Cultural Exchange on 42nd Street, and Beyond (Bloomsbury, 2016). He is founding series co-editor of Bloomsbury’s Global Exploitation Cinemas book series, sits on the editorial board of the Horror Studies series (University of Wales Press), and is the reviews editor of the Journal of Popular Television (Intellect). Johnny has delivered various invited talks about his research in the UK and Europe, including recent keynotes in Dortmund and Canterbury, and has been a principal organiser of numerous international conferences and symposia. Currently he is working on a book-length history of video rental culture in Britain. He would feel humbled and privileged to serve as a council member for IAMHIST and looks forward to the challenges and rewards ahead should he be elected.

Jessica Whitehead – I am a PhD candidate in Communication and Cultural Studies at York University under the supervision of Dr. Paul Moore. I am ABD with plans to defend in the fall of 2017. My dissertation, Cinema-going on the Margins: The Mascioli Film Circuit of Northeastern Ontario, explores how the remote geographic location of mining communities in Canada’s north created unique cinema-going experiences for the immigrant workers who populated the area. My research has been featured on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporations’ radio show Up North and in The Timmins Daily Press. I have a recent publication on movie star contests in the journal Transformative Works and Cultures, and several forthcoming publications concentrating on the history of movie-going and exhibition in Canada.

My motivation for becoming a member of the IAMHIST council is to help organize scholarly events. Under the direction of Dr Moore, I helped to write a successful Social Science and Humanities Research Council Connection Grant that will fund a conference, to bring over 100 film exhibition researchers from across the globe to present on film reception and distribution networks. I have played an active role in co-organizing the Circuits of Cinema conference, which will be held in Toronto at the end of June. This experience will be an asset to the IAMHIST council, and I envision myself working closely with other council members to organize upcoming conferences and writing funding applications for future events.

He will be missed: David H. Culbert, 1943-2017

It is with great sadness that I must on behalf of the IAMHIST Council tell members and friends of the death of Professor David H. Culbert. David was one of the pillars of our organization from its earliest days. He was a mainstay of conferences, masterclasses and above all its journal, The Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, which he edited for many years and continued to serve as editor emeritus. IAMHIST formally marked our collective debt to David at the end of his tenure at HJFRT by naming its annual prize for the best article by a senior scholar The David Culbert Prize.

David was born in 1943 and educated at Oberlin College, Ohio where he majored in German history. He also trained as an organist, holding a bachelor of music in organ performance from Oberlin Conservatory, and studying music in Salzburg, Austria, which prepared him for a life-long side career as a church organist and choir master. In 1970 David completed his PhD in American History at Evanston, Illinois, studying the role of radio news commentators in the 1930s America, which became the subject of his first book: News for Everyman: Radio and Foreign Affairs in Thirties America (Greenwood, 1976). He became especially well-known for his work on film propaganda in World War II using his command of German to bring archive-based insights into scholarly discourse on both sides of the Atlantic. His research achievements included conducting two interviews with Leni Riefenstahl.

It is characteristic of David’s great generosity with his time and intellect that much of his career was spent opening opportunities for other scholars as an editor of document series such as his multi volume Film and Propaganda in America: A Documentary History (Greenwood, 1990-1993) or the microfilm edition of the OWI archive: Information Control and Propaganda: Records of the Office of War Information (UPI, 1986) or the scholarly editions of major texts like Warner Brothers’ Mission to Moscow; as the editor of such widely read anthologies as World War II, Film and History (OUP, 1996), co-edited with John W. Chambers, or as the editor of our own HJFRT. It is appropriate for a man whose knowledge of the field was often described as encyclopedic that his publications included Propaganda and Mass Persuasion: A Historical Encyclopedia, 1500 to the Present, co-edited with myself and David Welch (ABC-Clio, 2003), a task he took on as a favor and which was greatly enhanced not only by his perceptive entries but also by some of the amazing propaganda images from his personal collection. David was an activist for the preservation of film; giving testimony on the subject on Capitol Hill. He pioneered bringing audio-visual evidence into the classroom. He spoke up for academic freedom and free speech. He was an essential presence at IAMHIST conferences where he presented his own work, and guided others as an insightful chair, discussant and engaged participant.

David was a devoted teacher whose decades of service at Louisiana State University were recognized by the award of the inaugural Loos chair of History in 2005, however his classroom was so much wider. He was an inspiration to colleagues in the field and a generous mentor to younger scholars who could depend on him for a supportive letter of recommendation. He was an entertaining speaker, whose presentations were known to include his bursting into song if the material called for that, and on at least one occasion he stepped up to play an accompaniment for a conference screening of a silent film. He was excellent company, with an infectious enthusiasm for a host of subjects from book collecting to choral music. He was a genial presence with a dry wit and an eye for comic side of everyday life. For the Council of IAMHIST he was a friend and an essential part of the management of our organization for the past thirty years. It is hard to imagine IAMHIST without him. Our thoughts are with his family and especially his wife, Lubna. He will be much missed.

Nicholas J. Cull

President, IAMHIST.

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