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African media, propaganda and decolonization (1946-1975)

Médias, propagande et décolonisations africaines (1946-1975)

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Published on Thursday, December 20, 2018


Les décolonisations surviennent à une époque où les médias de masse, et spécifiquement les médias audiovisuels, connaissent un  nouvel essor au lendemain de la seconde guerre mondiale. Cette journée d'étude internationale aura pour but d'éclairer la place des médias dans les décolonisations africaines et de mettre en valeur les recherches actuelles dans ce domaine. Trois points seront à éclairer. Quelle utilisation a été faite par les différents acteurs des décolonisations (puissances coloniales, mouvements indépendantistes, acteurs axtérieurs...) de ces médias ? Ces médias étaient au coeur d'enjeux politiques forts : quelles ont été les modalités de l'affrontement pour le contrôle de ces instruments de communication dans les différents contextes coloniaux ? Enfin, au delà des effrontements et des ruptures, quelles ont été les continuités dans le monde médiatique de part et d'autre des indépendances ?


Thursday 25 April 2019, University of Lille


This study day, will take place at the University of Lille (IRHIS-UMR 8529 CNRS). It is open to all researchers, especially young researchers and doctoral candidates. It will examine the role of media in the decolonization of African countries.

Decolonization occurred in a new media context. In the aftermath of the Second World War, the media, television, cinema, press and the printed image, often used for propaganda, and especially radio, were considered as weapons of war capable of overcoming national borders and fronts. They were privileged means of influencing and convincing populations. In the context of post-war economic growth, they are grew to an unprecedented extent.

In Africa, after 1945, the media were used by the colonial powers to renew the legitimacy of their domination over the colonized and metropolitan populations in the context of a "colonialism for development". They contributed to the renewal of colonial discourse and imagery within empires. But these media were also involved in colonial wars as instruments of propaganda and counter-propaganda aimed at colonized populations and public opinion in general. In the new context of the Cold War, which clearly delineated the camps of friends and enemies, they encourage a radicalisation of minds, but also a simplification of the representation of the balance of power. They were aimed to confirm the validity of colonial action, or on the contrary, to challenge the colonial order. Moreover, these media were integrated into strategies to maintain the influence of the former colonial powers in their African ‘pré-carré’, after independence.

Far from rejecting cinema, radio and television as harmful tools of the West, independence movements often try to associate them. The audiovisual media appear to be adaptable tools in the service of the postcolonial state in formation. In countries where illiteracy was massive, image and sound appear to be the best way to connect with populations, establish national identity, and promote economic and social development. As state-controlled instruments, these media were an essential attribute of sovereignty and an international affirmation of these news countries. In the context of colonial wars, independence movements, as well as their external contact (journalists, activists, etc.), also knew how to use the media to give their struggle an international dimension and delegitimize colonial power.

Media is this a general issue of decolonization. Media can be the scene of a radical confrontation between the metropolis and nationalist movements. But they could also be the subject of compromises between the interests of the new states and the former colonial master, allowing strong cultural links to persist beyond independence.

The situation of the media in African decolonization was particularly complex and varied. More than justifies a study day that will be enriched by the participation of internatinal researchers (Portuguese, British, Belgian) in order to deepen the history of the media in Africa from a comparative perspective. The proceedings will be published online (https://books.openedition.org/irhis/).

Proposals should address at list one of the following themes :

  1. History of communication technologies
  2. Wars and the media; public opinion
  3. Strategy of influence; governance
  4. African media in the aftermath of independence

Submission guidelines

The presentations will be 20 minutes long.

Proposals must be sent before 25 February 2019

to the following address: jemediasdecolonisations@gmail.com

They should include:

  • a paper title
  • a problematized summary of one page
  • a brief curriculum vitae

Participants selected by the scientific committee will be notified by 8 March 2019 at the latest.

A provisional programme will be available from 25 March 2019

Languages of the conference: French, English

Location of the conference: IRHiS-UMR 8529, University of Lille, Pont-de-Bois site, Villeneuve d'Ascq

Scientific Committee

  • Thomas Leyris (IRHiS, ULille)
  • Mehdi Djallal (IRHiS, ULille)
  • Isabelle Surun (IRHiS, ULille)


  • IRHiS–UMR 8529, Université de Lille - site du Pont-de-Bois
    Villeneuve-d'Ascq, France (59650)


  • Monday, February 25, 2019


  • média, décolonisation, radio, télévision, propagande, guerre coloniale, coopération, développement, presse illustrée


  • Thomas Leyris
    courriel : thomasleyris [at] hotmail [dot] com

Reference Urls

Information source

  • Thomas Leyris
    courriel : thomasleyris [at] hotmail [dot] com


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

To cite this announcement

« African media, propaganda and decolonization (1946-1975) », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Thursday, December 20, 2018, https://doi.org/10.58079/11j6

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