HomeThe “civilisation du journal” in the Mediterranean from the Late Eighteenth Century to the World War I

HomeThe “civilisation du journal” in the Mediterranean from the Late Eighteenth Century to the World War I

The “civilisation du journal” in the Mediterranean from the Late Eighteenth Century to the World War I

La « civilisation du journal » dans les espaces méditerranéens de la fin du XVIIIe siècle à la première guerre mondiale

La “civilisation du journal” nel Mediterraneo dal tardo Settecento alla Prima Guerra Mondiale

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Published on Wednesday, September 14, 2022


L’objectif de ce colloque international est d’approfondir la connaissance des formes prises par la « civilisation du journal » qui s’est développée à partir de la fin du XVIIIe siècle, et jusqu’à la première guerre mondiale, dans les espaces méditerranéens qui, sans avoir été précurseurs, ont aussi connu un grand développement journalistique. L’approche se veut sociale, culturelle et matérielle, dans la lignée d’un renouvellement historiographique récent des études sur la presse, afin de saisir la manière dont les journaux ont été produits et les entreprises de presse gérées, de saisir toutes les formes de circulations et pratiques journalistiques et d’interroger le rapport de ces journaux à l’image.



From the late eighteenth century, a great media transformation marked the transition from the old regimes to the contemporary world, before deepening throughout the 19th century. Between the gazettes of the late modern period and the newspapers of the mass press that appeared a century later, a true “civilisation du journal” (D. Kalifa, P. Régnier, M.-È. Thérenty, A. Vaillant, 2011) flourished by means of a series of struggles aimed at achieving freedom of the press, industrial development and massive literacy of the populations. Although historiography has favored a political approach for a long time, in the latest two decades research has focused its attention also on the cultural, social and material perspectives.

The aim of this symposium is to explore this historiographical renewal, studying the Mediterranean countries. These territories were not precursors in the development of the modern press, unlike more northern (United Kingdom) or atlantic (United States) areas. However, the French Mediterranean departments, Spain, the Italian States, and other eastern areas (such as Greece) have also experienced a development of the press, entering this new “civilisation du journal”. The objective is not to envisage a specifically Mediterranean press area, but to understand the way in which, from the late eighteenth century, these Mediterranean areas, with their own characteristics (fundamental role of port cities in journalistic networks) and their external influences (networks that connect them to northern spaces, also through the experience of exile) have entered media modernity.

Four sections have been defined:

 1/ Behind the scenes of the newspapers

The axis aims to bring together studies that reveal the functioning of journalistic enterprises and editorial staffs. The objective is to rebuild the networks formed at different scales (among members of the same editorial staff, with other editorial staffs, at regional, national and international levels) among the Mediterranean cities, but also from these towards the European continent and vice versa. Similarly, it is also interesting to investigate the organization of the production, which gradually has been  industrialized, and to study the production chain, from the supply of paper, inks, machines, and characters until the final creation of newspapers. Going behind the scenes of newspapers requires to highlight the role of editors, printers, compositors and booksellers, still little studied for what concerns their involvement in the production and distribution of newspapers. Particular attention must also be given to female participation, from famous journalistic figures to more anonymous women.

2/ The material dimensions of journalistic circulations

The “civilisation du journal” is a civilization of the post service, of the railroad and of new means of communication (such as the telegraph and the telephone). In addition to this, it is necessary to consider the important role played by maritime traffic, especially as regards the construction of journalistic networks. Thus, this section aims to study the circulation of information and newspapers, while also focusing on the actors – and actresses – who work to set up the distribution networks that became more complex between the end of the eighteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century.

 3/ The journalistic practices

Particular attention must be paid both to individual and collective journalistic practices, in order to highlight a whole range of journalistic learning methods, by describing various paths which could also imply travel or exile (let us think about Italians or Spanish people settled in London or Paris during the first half of the 19th century who became journalists before returning to their hometown, for example). It is also an opportunity to discuss the transfer of journalistic skills and to raise the issue of the professionalization of press professions. The aim is to try to identify at what degree, according to what influences and what chronologies the editorial staffs have entered this dynamic of journalistic professionalization in the Mediterranean areas during the nineteenth century.

4/ The links between press and image. The iconographic dimension of newspapers (caricatures and illustrations) must be considered, with an attention to the development of techniques, until the arrival of photography at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The aim is to look at the material and technical aspects of the journalistic image, and at the role of caricaturists, illustrators, engravers and photographers – also when these activities are carried out by women – but also at their degree of integration in the editorial staffs, as their activities established themselves as full-fledged press professions throughout the nineteenth century.

How to apply

Proposals (max 400 words, with a short academic bio and the short description of your sources) can be written in English, Italian, or French and must be sent to the following email address: contes.julien@gmail.com

Inquiries on any aspect of the symposium can be emailed to contes.julien@gmail.com


  • Université Côte d'Azur, Campus Carlone, 98 Bd Edouard Herriot
    Nice, France (06)

Event attendance modalities

Hybrid event (on site and online)


  • Thursday, November 10, 2022


  • newspaper, nineteenth century press, media, presse, XIXe siècle, Ottocento, giornalismo, journalisme


  • Julien Contes
    courriel : contes [dot] julien [at] gmail [dot] com

Information source

  • Julien Contes
    courriel : contes [dot] julien [at] gmail [dot] com


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« The “civilisation du journal” in the Mediterranean from the Late Eighteenth Century to the World War I », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Wednesday, September 14, 2022, https://calenda.org/1015668

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