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Current positions:

  • Endowed (full) Professor (bijzondere hoogleraar) of Transnational Media,  connected to the Netherlands Institute in Sound and Vision, at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam


  • Assistant Professor (Universitair Docent), Utrecht University, Department of Media and Cultural Studies

Research project (2013-2016): Transnational Radio Encounters (TRE) IP 4 International Services Between Expats, Empire and Education



  • PhD Modern Languages, University of Southampton, UK 2004
  • MA Social Science, University of Chicago, USA 1995
  • BA German Letters and Anthropology, University of the South (Sewanee), USA 1993


I am both physically and intellectually a nomad.  I have studied and worked in five countries, and in disciplinary departments ranging from German language and literature to the history of technology.  While countries and disciplines have changed, however, my core question has remained largely the same: how do people construct meaningful places and times within the shifting media/technological networks in which they are enmeshed?  Building on this basic question, my research falls into three interwoven strands, each of which has a strong presence in my recent project on Transnational Radio Encounters:

  • Broadcasting and (trans)national identities. As the leading media of the 20th century, radio and television have simultaneously consolidated ideas of national belonging and provided access to imagined global spheres.   Both my PhD research on German radio as well as the work I am developing on women’s radio in Europe fall into this strand.  Believing strongly in the aims of a non-media-centred media studies, my approach to radio and television sees them less as objects of study in themselves than as privileged pathways into broader social questions and intermedial entanglements.
  • Infrastructures, territories and transnational mobility  Growing out of a large project on Transnational Infrastructures and Europe at the TU Eindhoven, and now closely related to my work in in Paris for the LABEX EHNE, this strand of research focuses on the way the building of networks both envisages and enables forms of mobility in European spaces. What are the technologies, insitutions and discourses that allows things, people and ideas to circulate, and how are they mediated?  Most recently, I have become interested as well in alternative or counter-spaces, such as the offshore broadcasters in the North Sea, and the squatted spaces in Amsterdam and their key links to the rise of internet culture there.
  • Digital heritage and networked constructions of the past  Through my work editing an online virtual exhibit that brings together the collections of science and technology museums in Europe, as well as the growing question of audiovisual archives, the most recent strand of my research focuses on the problems and possibilities of networking heritage in the age of aggregation and convergence.

Besides research, as noted above I am president of the German association for broadcasting history, the Studienkreis Rundfunk und Geschichte, and am involved in a number of European research networks, including the Tensions of Europe network, as well as the Transmitting and Receiving Europe group, who work on the mediated construction and fragmentation of European spaces, and the Women’s Radio in Europe Network (WREN), which I co-ordinate with Kristin Skoog.

Please check out my updated list of publications or my profile pages at the UU or the VU

A note on the cover photo: it is Isa Genzken’s splendid Weltempfängerwhich I recently saw in her show at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Nina Wormbs permalink
    December 6, 2009 11:24 am

    Hi Alec, and welcome to the Blogosphere! Or have you been around somewhere else and I just haven’t spotted you?
    Saw the exhibition and made a post on it. Nice. :-).

    I hope to see you in Sofia for the closing conference on the Inventing Europe project.

    All the best from a rainy Stockholm,

  2. February 27, 2011 6:12 pm

    Hi there–I found your blog after reading an old article you’d written about Sunday programming and the Heimat in post-war German radio. I’m trying to get in touch as I was intrigued at your mention of the way horspiel has been well-documented during the period–however, it’s all in German and as non-German speaker, I thought I might pick your brain about possible solutions. I’m currently pursuing a PhD from Swansea University about radio drama in the US, UK, and Europe and have found it very difficult to find information about the European context, because unfortunately much of is not available in English (or French–I am francophone). If you think you might have some ideas, please get in contact via e-mail or the blog. Thanks.

    • February 27, 2011 9:04 pm

      Hi Leslie! Glad to hear you read the article and have found the blog. Sounds like a great topic! I am sending you a lengthier email, but wanted to say publicly in the first instance that there is indeed very little scholarship in English on radio drama in Germany. I can put you in touch with some of the people who write on it in Geman. One source that might be worth looking at – depending on how “European” you want to be about the European context – is some of the international competitions like the Prix Italia. Irmela Schneider has done some work on this, though as far as I know, little or none in English. There is some information on this at the EBU archives in Geneva, though I have not looked at those records myself, so I can’t tell you exactly how fruitful they would be.

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