International Conference

New Dates 24th-25th September 2020

“Crossing Borders with a New Medium: Radio and Imperial Identities”

This will be an Online and Offline event

Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Lisbon

Call for Papers (now closed)

The emergence of radio introduced profound changes in public communication, changing patterns of information dissemination at local, national and international levels. While in the early 1920s broadcasting was mostly operated by small stations listened to by a small group of people who owned radio sets, before the end of the decade, large stations had already emerged on the scene, aiming to reach nationwide or even international audiences. The audio medium soon became a central instrument in the construction and dissemination of national cultures and shared identities. While this was obviously the case in the interwar dictatorships, in Western democracies broadcasting (first radio and later on television) also took centre stage in the dissemination of popular culture and was seen as a powerful tool of propaganda and of creation of national identities (MacKenzie, 1986; Douglas, 1999; Scannell & Cardiff, 1991; Hilmes, 2008) as well as of imagined communities (Anderson, 1983). In the case of the Imperial nations, this role was extended overseas with radio becoming the most important medium for uniting the home countries with those living in the far reaches of the empires, though not unproblematically.

A growing body of literature on the history of imperial and colonial broadcasting, as well as of sound, have been contributing to the understanding of the role of radio technologies, broadcasting and music in the 20th century in forging audible and sonorous empires. However, the ways in which different imperial countries used radio to create a sense of nation and colonial identities among those living in different geographies and historical periods remains an open question that may well require different theoretical and methodological approaches, questions and answers. Firstly, how did different imperial projects engage with broadcasting, and how did they use radio as both an imperial and colonial tool across different geographies? How has broadcasting been incorporated and appropriated (similarly and differently) within different colonial settings alongside the rise of the anti-colonial liberation movements? How did different imperial nations embrace technological transformation in the field of broadcasting and of sound in order to achieve their goals? Which were the different broadcasting programming strategies adopted by distinct imperial nations and colonial rules in different territories? In which way have conditions and choices in radio reception shaped imperial and colonial broadcasting? Which were the broadcasting and sound practices that posed resistance to imperial and colonial radio strategies and policies? What role did the audio medium play during decolonization, and how did broadcasting institutions change and adapt in the aftermath of colonialism?

The conference “Crossing Borders with a New Medium: Radio and Imperial Identities” seeks papers that tackle these and other issues of (inter)national and cross-border broadcasting practices and policies in different colonial settings. It aims to discuss how radio purposively served the idea of Empire while also serving as a tool to fight colonial rule alongside the rise of pro-independence movements.

Hence, papers dealing with the following topics will be highly appreciated (non-exhaustive list):

  • Radio and national identities;

  • Imperial and colonial broadcasting institutions;

  • Radio professionals in imperial and colonial broadcasting contexts;

  • Programming in international broadcasts;

  • Reception of Imperial and colonial broadcasts;

  • Technologies used for international broadcasting;

  • Radio, ethnicity and race;

  • Radio and practices of resistance;

  • Broadcasting and colonial subjectivities;

  • Radio and colonial independences;

  • Radio and decolonization;

  • Media entanglements in imperial contexts;

  • Intermedial approaches to radio history in colonial contexts;

  • Media systems in colonial and postcolonial settings;

  • Radio and music market in imperial and colonial contexts;

  • Challenges of oral history.

  • Sources and archives dealing with broadcasting in colonial settings;


How to Submit? (call now closed)

Please send a title and a 400 word abstract in Word or Pdf format before 20 January, 2020 (deadline) to .

Author name(s), institutional affiliation(s) and contact information should be sent on a separate file or on the body of the e-mail.

Authors will be notified of acceptance on 7 February 2020.



Registration fees are as follows:


For presenters:

- The early bird fee for the authors of the selected proposals is 100€. Payment must be done by the 10th of July 2020 (new date). After that date, the fee will be 130€. It includes lunches and coffee-breaks.

- There is a reduced fee for students: 50€ (early bird fee)/ 65€.


For attendants:

- the fee is 30€. It includes lunches and coffee-breaks. 


Payment should be made by bank transfer to the following account:


Bank name: Millennium BCP (Lisbon)

Account number: 0000000170134121

Bank Identification Number: 0033.0000.00170134121.05

IBAN: PT50.0033.0000.00170134121.05


Please include the reference “BiPE” in the transfer description and send a copy of your proof of transfer to the email: together with your ID number in nationality (for foreigners) or address and NIF (for nationals) for invoicing purposes. Depending on the case, please include in the message subject “Presentation in BiPE’s conference” or “Attendance in BiPE’s conference”.


Do let us know whether you’ll be participating either in person/offline or online.


Additional information: 


1)  If you are participating in person and need a formal letter of invitation for visa purposes, please do request one by e-mail (

2)  All presenters will have a 20-minutes slot to present their work, followed by Q&A.

3)  The final programme will be available after the 15 of July and will be sent to all registered participants and attendants. 

4)  Please note that in case you are planning to travel to Lisbon, there is no on-campus accommodation. There are plenty of different options for you to stay in city, depending on your budget. 



The Research Centre for Communication and Culture (CECC) at Universidade Católica Portuguesa will host the conference. It will take place within the framework of the research project “Broadcasting to the Portuguese Empire: Nationalism, Colonialism, Identity” funded by FCT and FEDER. 


 ‘Broadcasting in the Portuguese Empire: Nationalism, Colonialism, Identity’ (BiPE) is a research project based in the Research Center for Communication and Culture (CECC). It aims to contribute to scholarship on Media, Empires and Colonialisms, namely through an interdisciplinary research approach that intersects the history of broadcasting with the history of the late Portuguese colonialism. One of the research goals is to understand the extent to which radio, as a new electronic medium of the first half of the 20th century, contributed to bolster and construct national and imperial identities across the territories of the Portuguese colonial empire.