CFP: Reporting from the Wars 1850 – 2015

Editors: Barry Turner, Geoff Adams and Sanem Şahin

The book will be a compilation of historical and contemporary stories of the war correspondent and battlefield photographer from the earliest days of modern war reporting to the present. It will seek to determine the changes in style, method and practice of the work of the war correspondent and examine the changes in attitudes to, and how the public view war from the high point of imperialism to the present day jihad.

By mixing historical analysis with contributions from modern war reporters it will analyse such subjects as the role of propaganda in winning over the public to support wars of aggression, the portrayal of war as entertainment, the use of technology in war reporting and the lives, and sadly often the deaths of those who take on this most dangerous and disturbing vocation. It is proposed to assemble 15 chapters written by war correspondents and academics to produce an edited volume suitable for academic study and public interest simultaneously.

The target audience therefore will not simply be for the academic or specialist reader but will hopefully appeal to all with an interest in the subject of war reporting and history. The book will explore how emerging technologies, publicity and propaganda, the perceptions of morality and the various relationships between the press, military and governments have evolved since the Crimean War to the present day – and how this has affected war and conflict reporting.

We propose three sections to this edited book, which will cover the following topics:

The origin of the war correspondent

Starting with the Crimean War, the first major war covered by photographers this can look at how modern technology made war reporting a ‘news’ item in real time.  Before the introduction of this technology ware reporting was more closely related to story telling weeks after the event sometimes supported by artists stylized impressions of the fighting.  This chapter can look at the difference to war reporting this technology made on both the reporters themselves and the perceptions of their audience.  Consideration under this theme would be given to the effect of visual technology from the earliest portable cameras to the visual imagery of the digital age.

War reporting as a means to victory

For a nation to fight a war it has to be popular.  Even dictatorships and authoritarian regimes need public support in order to prosecute a war to success.  History is littered with unpopular wars unsupported by the population with almost inevitable defeat at the hand of the enemy or the people at home.  This chapter can look at the methods used from the early days of war reporting to the present to examine how publicity and propaganda can convince the public that the war is a ‘just war’.

War reporting and the morality of war

These chapters will look at the way that the morality of war is expressed in press reporting from the crudest propaganda to the subtlest manipulation and spin.  The relationship of reporters to the military and government would be examined as would the concepts of a righteous or war and the ‘war on terror.  Themes would include the portrayal of coalitions of the willing and the reporting of Jihad.

Please send 250 word abstracts to Sanem Şahin ( no later than 30 November 2015.