ICE blogs

November 3, 2017

Sky Sports News executive editor says ‘Sky sources’ ticker can refer to information from one source

By Louise Byrne

Source: Press Gazette

The executive editor of Sky Sports News, Andy Cairns, said the phrase “Sky sources” used in the breaking news ticker sometimes refers to information from just one source rather than at least two sources which might have been best practice in the past.

Speaking on Friday at a conference on ethics and sports journalism, Cairns said the growing phenomenon of “unnamed sources” was not ideal, but was in part the result of the heightened competition to be the first with the news.

“We’ve had to respond. I think for a while, most news organisations followed the two sources rule for any story. With the pace of news and increased competition, that’s not workable now for every story.”

Cairns conceded that it happened “too often probably”, but said there was still careful evaluation of a source based on asking the right questions and an extensive contact base.

He also said there was now a disturbing middle ground occupied by news and gossip websites, or Twitter accounts with large followings, where different rules applied.

Sky Sports News had set up a special team to break original news and verify quickly stories on social media.

“The challenge comes when a rumour gathers momentum on social media. We can’t ignore it so we are honest with our viewers… that we are checking to verify and that we will update as soon as we can.

Cairns – who was speaking at the Institute of Communication Ethics (ICE) Annual Conference entitled: Sports Journalism: ethical vacuum or ethical minefield? – added that the increasingly tight control exercised by press officers and clubs, who were often running their own media channels, was also part of the problem.

You can continue to read the full article via this link:

September 19, 2017

‘Fake news has been around for over a century’

Filed under: Blogroll, News, ethical space editors blog, Headlines, journalism — news_editor @ 11:59 am

The current focus on ‘fake news’ belies the fact that the manipulation of beliefs through propaganda has been a persistent feature of the political landscape for over a century, Professor Piers Robinson, of the University of Sheffield, said recently in a talk accompanying the exhibition, After the Fact. Propaganda in the 21st Century, at the Lenbachhaus, in Munich. Below follows an article written by Professor Robinson summarising his talk.

Political debate today is frequently dominated by controversy over ‘fake news’ and we are regularly informed that various actors, from the ‘alt right’ to the ‘alt left’ and Russia, are targeting Western publics with this form of manipulated and distorted information. The focus of the fake news debate, however, belies the fact that the manipulation of beliefs through propaganda has been a persistent feature of the political landscape for over a century. In fact, the art of propaganda was widely debated in the first part of the 20th century with key thinkers such as Edward Bernays, Walter Lippman and Harold Lasswell openly advocating its use in order to shape public beliefs, behaviours and to manufacture consent (Lippman).

Since then, however, new terms have come into circulation to describe propaganda. As Bernays explained, ‘propaganda got to be a bad word because of the Germans … using it [during World War One]. So what I did was to … find some other words. So we found the words Counsel on Public Relations’. Today a euphemism industry abounds and terms such as strategic communication, perception management, public diplomacy, political marketing, advertising, information operations and psychological operations (psy ops) have been added to public relations. In short, propaganda has been successfully rebranded and our awareness of the extent to which we are all subject to it has been blunted.

Propaganda can have huge consequences. A now seminal example of contemporary propaganda was the campaign waged by the US and UK governments to persuade everyone that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). It is now well documented that the US and UK governments manipulated intelligence in order to present Iraq as much more threatening than it actually was. Sir John Chilcot, Chair of the recently published six-year-long Iraq War Inquiry, stated to the BBC that Prime Minister Tony Blair had not been ‘straight’ with the British public. The war in Iraq has killed hundreds of thousands of people, perhaps more, and the conflict continues to this day. But it now appears likely that a much larger deception has been at work. Chilcot’s report revealed damning indicative evidence that, from the start, a plan to attack multiple countries was put into play immediately following 9/11. Chilcot’s report published Bush-Blair communications from the immediate aftermath of 9/11 which discussed phases one and two of the ‘war on terror’ and indicated debate over when to ‘hit’ countries unconnected with Al Qaeda, such as Iraq, Syria and Iran.

Remarkably, Chilcot also reported a British embassy cable issued just days after 9/11 which stated ‘the “regime-change hawks” in Washington are arguing that a coalition put together for one purpose (against international terrorism) could be used to clear up other problems in the region’. By releasing these documents, Chilcot corroborated former Supreme Allied Commander Wesley Clark’s claim that he was informed immediately after 9/11 that seven countries, including Syria and Iran, were to be taken out in five years. All of this evidence provides powerful initial confirmation that the so-called ‘war on terror’, sold to Western publics as a fight against Al Qaeda-linked terrorism, was actually about pursuing geo-strategic interests via a ‘regime change’ strategy. Moreover, there are reasons to believe that the current wars in Libya, Syria and Yemen are linked, relatively directly, with this same strategy. As such, it appears increasingly likely that the ‘war on terror’ narrative has performed significantly, perhaps mainly, as a propaganda strategy designed to mobilise Western publics to support regime change wars that have little to do with the terrorism associated with 9/11. This, potentially, is a major deception and millions have died as a result.

Propaganda, then, is not something from the distant past, or something that is the sole preserve of political extremists or the latest ‘official enemy’. It is alive and well right in the heart of our own democracies. What needs to be done? Within academia, the disciplines of political science, sociology and communication studies need once again to take propaganda seriously, and start to determine the extent to which the very functioning of contemporary liberal democracy has been undermined by it. More generally, we all need to think critically about the information we receive. In practical terms this means that we should not blindly accept what we are told by powerful political actors. Just because we are told by our governments that Russia is threatening our security and interfering in our elections does not necessarily mean that it is true. We also need to learn to move across different information sources, including mainstream/corporate media and alternative/independent media, and to develop the media literacy skills necessary to help discern the difference between manipulated information and that which can help us understand better a particular issue. Neither mainstream/corporate news media, which is so frequently a conduit for the propaganda campaigns initiated by powerful political actors, nor alternative/independent news media, hold a monopoly on the truth. They are all, to varying degrees, potentially useful sources of information and all should be consulted.

Most of all, we need to use our intelligence and develop confidence in our own judgments. But it should not just be down to us, the public, to fight our way through the propaganda. Powerful actors, and in the West this usually means governments and big business, need to be pushed to improve the quality of their communication strategies so that there is far less deception and so-called ‘spin’ than there is today: higher ethical standards need to be campaigned for.

Finally, the fight against propaganda needs to be understood for what it is. It is a struggle against manipulation by powerful actors and a battle for democracy and accountability. Of the major challenges facing us all in the 21st century, from war through to climate change and poverty, accurate information is essential to informed and open democratic debate. To achieve that, we must learn to navigate the highly propagandised information environment that now exists, and start to challenge the institutions and organisations that have become so reliant on propaganda in order to manipulate our beliefs and order our conduct. This is a huge challenge, but it is an essential and urgent one.

• Professor Piers Robinson is Chair in Politics, Society and Political Journalism in the Department of Journalism Studies at the University of Sheffield (UK). Previously, he was Senior Lecturer in International Politics at the University of Manchester (2005-2011) as well as Lecturer in Political Communication at the University of Liverpool (1999-2005). His research focus is the nexus of communication, media and world politics with particular attention on areas and strategies of conflict and war. For this talk see

July 12, 2017

Sports Journalism: ethical vacuum or ethical minefield?

Filed under: Blogroll, News, ethical space editors blog, Headlines, journalism, conferences — news_editor @ 10:05 am

Institute of Communication Ethics Annual Conference

27 October 2017, Frontline Club, 13 Norfolk Place, London W2 1QJ

Keynote Speaker: Andy Cairns, Executive Editor, Sky Sports News

This year, we have an excellent selection of papers exploring a range of ethical issues in sports communications. They include the latest research by Professor Suzanne Franks on women in sports journalism, Jonathan Cable on the impact of clickbait in football reporting and Tracie Edmundson on the digital sports media landscape in Australian sport.

In addition, there will be papers on diversity in sports journalism and sports media relations. Simon McEnnis will discuss how the ethical codes of sports journalism intersect with a hyper-commercialised environment and Tom Bradshaw considers the ethics of self censorship in sport journalism.

Daragh Minogue will wrap up the conference by hosting a round table discussion with a panel of sports journalists. Join us for a day of lively academic debate and post ‘match’ drinks at the Frontline Club for what we think is the first academic conference in the UK dedicated to ethics in sports journalism.

To join us please complete the attached registration form and email it to or or post it to the address below.

Payment rates
The delegate rate for the conference is:

£60.00 (£5.00 for registered students) - the cost includes a sandwich lunch.

Payment can be made in two ways:

Cheque payable to ‘Institute of Communication Ethics’ and sent to the address below

Bank transfer:
HSBC - Sort code: 40-28-15 - Account no: 71321536
Account name: The Institute of Communication Ethics Limited

For international transactions: International bank ac number – GB95MIDL40281571321536. Branch identifier code MIDLGB2138D

Please can you make sure it is clear from the bank transfer who the payment is from and that it is for the conference!

I am afraid that, currently, it isn’t possible to pay by creditcard. Any queries about the conference or how to pay please email as above.

Any queries please let me know.

Best wishes


For the registration form please see the document attached ICE_Conference_Registration_2017.docx

June 30, 2017

Call for papers: ICE annual conference

Filed under: Blogroll, News, ethical space editors blog, Headlines, journalism, conferences — news_editor @ 1:02 pm

Papers are invited for the annual conference of the Institute of Communication Ethics, ‘Sports Journalism: Ethical vacuum or ethical minefield?’, to be held on 27 October 2017 at the Frontline Club, London W2 1QJ. The keynote speaker is Andy Cairns, executive editor, of Sky Sports News.

Sports content is a crucial aspect of many media organisations’ output. But while the ethical issues surrounding news journalism are closely scrutinised, the ethical dilemmas facing sports journalism are often neglected, or even unacknowledged. Issues of media regulation remain highly contentious in the UK, but how does sports output fit into this debate? Is the balance of power between sports journalists and sports media relations executives shifting decisively in favour of the latter? How have sports journalists responded to the issues arising from the digital revolution? And how can students be best prepared to tackle the many ethical issues involved in sports reporting?

The conference aims to provide a space for analysis and discussion on the varied ethical issues confronting sports journalists. Topics might then include:

• Too cosy a relationship? Sports journalists and sports PR managers
• Does sports journalism need a separate industry code?
• Taking the (click)bait: are website visitor targets undermining high-quality sports journalism?
• Covering diversity in sports – issues of representation in sports coverage
• Using social media as a sports journalist: the ethical issues
• Sports journalism and ‘entrapment’: the ethical issues involved in an undercover investigation
• Branded content – is it in danger of killing independent sports journalism?
• ‘Fans with typewriters’. How prepared are sports journalists to cover ‘hard’ news on top of the regular diet of press conferences and matches?
• How should ethics and regulation be taught to sports journalists, both in industry and on training courses?
• Fan sites: when citizen sports journos challenge the news values of corporate media’s sports coverage
• Sports celebrities – and the ‘human interest’ bias of the media
• Local sports coverage – the necessary manufacture of ‘imagined communities’?

These issues – and more – will be of interest to academics, journalists, sports media relations practitioners and students working in the field of sports communications.

Please send 200-word abstracts to Dr Daragh Minogue ( and Tom Bradshaw ( by 1 July 2017

Fake news inquiry

Filed under: News, ethical space editors blog, Headlines, journalism, ethics training — news_editor @ 1:01 pm

In January 2017, parliament’s culture, media and sport committee set up an inquiry to investigate ‘the growing phenomenon of widespread dissemination, through social media and the internet, and acceptance as fact of stories of uncertain provenance or accuracy’. It followed the public outcry over deception in political campaigning during the UK’s EU Referendum and the USA’s presidential election in 2016.
A detailed analysis of the submissions to the inquiry by Vian Bakir and Andrew McStay, of Bangor University, can be accessed at

May 23, 2017

Surveillance – and the general election

Filed under: News, ethical space editors blog, Headlines, journalism, human rights — news_editor @ 9:50 am

Concerns over the growing powers of the surveillance state significantly secure no mention in either the Conservative or Labour Party manifestos in the run-up to the general election on 8 June.

Recently, a leak from the Home Office revealed that the government aimed to be able to access anyone’s communications within 24 hours under the Investigatory Powers Act (IPA) of December 2016 and halt people’s ability to encrypt messages. The Act was condemned by the Open Democracy group as the ‘most sweeping surveillance powers ever seen, not just in the UK, but in any Western European nation or in the United States’.

Under the new plans, companies would be legally required to introduce a backdoor to their systems so that authorities could read all communications if required. And in a section of the Conservative manifesto headed ‘Strengthening the police and security services’, the party says: ‘We will continue to invest in our world-leading security services and maintain and develop our counter-terrorism strategy to protect us from terrorism at home and abroad.’

The Labour Party makes no mention of surveillance or the powers of intelligence and the secret state in their manifesto: the party offered only token opposition to the IPA, dubbed, the ‘Snoopers’ Charter’.

In contrast, the Liberal Democrats have pledged to end the ‘Orwellian nightmare’ of mass surveillance. The party’s manifesto also commits to opposing Tory attempts to erode citizens’ powers of encryption.

One of the Lib Dems’ nine MPs, Alistair Carmichael, told the website, the Register, that the IPA prepared the way for a ‘full frontal assault’ on privacy and civil liberties. ‘The security services need to be able to keep people safe, but these powers are straight out of an Orwellian nightmare. They have no place in an open and democratic society, will cost billions of taxpayers’ money and simply will not work. Instead of spying on the entire population’s web histories and undermining the encryption that, for example, allows us to bank online safely, Liberal Democrats would put money back into community policing and concentrate on intelligence-led, targeted surveillance.’

• See; and

Richard Lance Keeble

May 22, 2017

Whistleblower Manning finally released

Filed under: Blogroll, News, ethical space editors blog, Headlines, journalism, human rights — news_editor @ 12:11 pm

Chelsea Manning, the military intelligence analyst turned whistleblower who revealed US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, was released from military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, on 17 May after completing over seven years in jail.

She was arrested by the army in 2010 after providing WikiLeaks with hundreds of thousands of internal army ‘incident logs’ and about 250,000 diplomatic cables from American embassies around the world. In August 2013, she was jailed for 35 years, a sentence 10 times longer than any previous punishment imposed on a federal employee, military or civilian, for leaking classified information.

Among the crimes exposed by Manning was the American helicopter attack on civilians in Baghdad that killed 16 people, including two Reuters journalists. Other documents published by WikiLeaks proved that civilian deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan were far higher than officially reported while dossiers on Guantanamo Bay prisoners suggested that many of them had no significant role in terrorist operations.

As Genevieve Leigh comments: ‘Despite the massive evidence provided, not a single person was jailed, arrested, or even charged for any of the documented crimes. Instead, the military brass together with the Obama administration ruthlessly persecuted Manning for what is a far greater “crime” in the eyes of the ruling class: exposing the murderous nature of the US war machine.’

Following the revelations, Manning was held in an outdoor cage in a bid to break her psychologically. From July 2010 to April 2011, she was held in Virginia, much of the time stripped naked as a ‘security’ measure. As Leigh continues: ‘All told, she spent almost a year-and-a-half in solitary confinement, 23 hours a day, a form of detention classified as torture by human rights groups.’

In prison, Manning made two attempts to take her own life, for which she faced even more severe treatment.

President Obama commuted Manning’s sentence to just over seven years, in one of his final actions before leaving office in January. Yet her sentence under the Espionage Act remains in force. A fundraising drive to help Manning maintain her appeal has been launched by the Courage Foundation with the German branch of Reporters Without Borders and the Wau Holland Foundation.

Moreover, Obama and Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state, in particular, led moves to muzzle Manning and other whistleblowers. In fact, more whistleblowers were prosecuted during the Obama years than in all other administrations combined.

The Trump administration is currently stepping up the campaign against whistleblowers, US attorney general, Jeff Sessions, said recently that the arrest of Julian Assange, WikiLeaks’ founder, was a ‘priority’ for the US.

After being sentenced to jail, Manning (previously known as Bradley) announced she was transgendered and took the name Chelsea. She later began hormone therapy and requested gender reassignment surgery, which the army repeatedly denied.

• See

Richard Lance Keeble, joint editor of Ethical Space: The International Journal of Communication Ethics.

April 21, 2017

Moab: How the media humanise the horror

Filed under: Blogroll, News, ethical space editors blog, Headlines, journalism, human rights — news_editor @ 1:59 pm

One of the main functions of the dominant media is to naturalise and humanise the horror of contemporary warfare. As Edward Herman comments: ‘Doing terrible things in an organised and systematic way rests on “normalisation”. This is the process whereby ugly, degrading, murderous and unspeakable acts become routine and are accepted as “the way things are done”. … It is the function of the defense intellectuals and other experts and the mainstream media to normalise the unthinkable for the general public.’

This process was particularly evident in the recent coverage of the deployment by the US military of its most powerful, non-nuclear bomb against IS fighters in Achin District, Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan. Significantly, the missile (the GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast) was dubbed ‘the Mother of All Bombs’ and the acronym ‘Moab’ quickly – and unproblematically – entered the lexicon of media/military jargon.

The nickname, Moab, clearly appropriates and updates the rhetoric of Saddam Hussein, former President of Iraq, who called the 1991 Desert Storm conflict ‘the Mother of All Battles’. In the end, up to 250,000 Iraqis were to be slaughtered by the US-led forces during those 42 days in which one massacre followed another.

But the application of the word ‘Mother’ draws on a long tradition in which the language of domesticity serves to strangely humanise the horrific. Horror, in this way, becomes a familiar part of our normal everyday lives. Mothers are normally associated with love, compassion and the creation of life. Here, the bomb delivers death and destruction. In the same way, the Hiroshima bomb was called ‘Little Boy’, the plutonium bomb dropped on Nagasaki ‘Fat Man’. Edward Teller is known as the ‘father’ of the H-Bomb.

Brian Easlea, in his seminal, feminist history Fathering the unthinkable, of 1983, highlights the creation of nuclear weapons in the context of the masculinity of science. He sees the development of science as a process of domination over both nature and women. According to Easlea, men create science and weapons to compensate for their lack of the ‘magical power’ of mothering. In other words, the distorted psyche at the heart of masculinity and the ‘technical, phallic rationality’ it promotes gives birth not to life but death. Easlea quotes a note slipped to Truman at the Potsdam conference on 17 July 1945 after a successful test of the plutonium bomb that said simply: ‘Babies successfully born.’ And the President knew precisely what it meant.

In an exultant profile of the B52 bombers during the Gulf conflict of 1991 in the Sun of 24 January, a Major Cole is quoted as saying: ‘The devastation underneath these babies is incredible.’ In other words, the mass deaths to be inflicted by these bombers is to be a source of celebration, wonder even. Men again have given birth to massacres. A major general is quoted: ‘The B52 has a mystique about it. Because of its destructive power it has a sense of awesomeness.’

Following Hiroshima and Nagasaki, later generations (note that word) of nuclear weapons were given military status and a patriotic role. They were called ‘Corporal’ and ‘Sergeant’. ‘Honest John’ appeared later in the European theatre (another ‘humanising’ term). The devastating ‘Minuteman’ missile drew on the name of the heroic militiamen of the American revolutionary war who were trained to turn out at a minute’s notice. So in this way the missile takes its proud place in national folklore. Or they have been given names of classical gods: such as Polaris, Skybolt, Jupiter, Titan, Poseidon, Trident. In these various ways weapons of mass destruction have been assimilated into our culture to appear ‘natural’ and ‘civilised’.

During the Cold War, Paul Chilton (1983), drawing on George Orwell’s notion of newspeak, coined the term nukespeak. In this way, he was making three main claims. Firstly, there existed a specialised vocabulary for talking about nuclear weapons together with habitual metaphors. Secondly, that this variety of English was neither neutral nor purely descriptive but ideologically loaded in favour of the nuclear culture. And finally, that nukespeak was massively important since it affected how people thought about the subject and largely determined the ideas they exchanged about it.

But there was no massive conspiracy to inject this vocabulary into the culture: there were no Orwellian grammarians munching their sandwiches at the Ministry of Truth and rewriting the English language. The atomic bombs which fell on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 were, indeed, weapons of mass destruction. Their deployment represented, according to Chilton, a revolutionary jump in military strategy. And inevitably it heralded a new order of experience in science, politics and the everyday. Chilton commented: ‘The language used to talk about the new weapons of mass extermination was partly an attempt to slot the new reality into the old paradigms of our culture. It was also no doubt a language that served the purpose of those who were concerned to perpetuate nuclear weapons development and deployment.’

Nukespeak then, as a specific linguistic register, drew on deep patterns of symbolic thought, on myths, religious beliefs, symbols, stereotypes and metaphors which we use to organise and normalise our everyday experiences. In August 1945, politicians together with the mainstream press spoke of the bomb mainly in terms of religious awe. For instance, while Truman was meeting Churchill and Stalin at Potsdam, an official report on the Hiroshima explosion was rushed to him. It said: ‘It was the beauty the great poets dream about. … Then came the strong, sustained, awesome roar which warned of doomsday and made us feel that we puny things were blasphemous to dare to tamper with the forces heretofore reserved to the Almighty.’. The Times reported eye-witnesses: ‘The whole thing was tremendous and awe-inspiring,’ said a Captain Parsons of the US Navy.

Central to the manufacture of the myth of ‘humanitarian’ warfare over recent decades has been the constant propaganda focus on precise, clean weapons. War is a civilised, humanitarian business – that’s the essential message. Significantly, to justify the use of the GBU-43/B, on 13 April 2017, the American military afterwards said 94 IS militants had been killed in the ‘precise’ strike. There were no civilian casualties, they claimed.

- Richard Lance Keeble is Professor of Journalism at the University of Lincoln and Visiting Professor at Liverpool Hope University, His analysis of war coverage since 1945, Covering Conflict: The Making and Unmaking of New Militarism, is shortly to be published by Abramis, of Bury St Edmunds.

March 17, 2017

Ethical Space special issue: Call for Papers

Filed under: Blogroll, News, ethical space editors blog, Headlines, journalism — news_editor @ 11:51 am

How do you feel? Ethical challenges in media treatment and representation of vulnerable people

Media reporting of vulnerable people is not a recent phenomenon but it is one that is increasingly dominating the 24/7 news cycle. The tensions involved in covering mass human migration, the Syrian refugee crisis, disasters and trauma, terrorist executions and acts of carnage all pose challenges to the journalist trying to report accurately, sensitively and ethically in extreme circumstances. In addition the use and misuse of social media, the evolving understanding of mental health and the growing acknowledgement of the rights of those involved in stories to have their say all suggest a more equitable and participatory journalism is necessary when reporting on ‘victims’ and the vulnerable.

These emotional and ethical challenges come as the media landscape is changing irrevocably. Traditional news outlets are under pressure to the extent that, although the vulnerable are the subject of stories, their involvement in the process can be minimal. Instead, some journalists are turning to ready-made content generated by citizens on social media. Is this ethical? Is this the way in which journalists should record the lives of vulnerable people? Social media also has had a significant effect on coverage of suicide. The death of actor Robin Williams resulted in some appalling coverage that revealed tensions between control of the media through regulatory systems and professional guidelines and the unregulated world of social media where the audience can access content that the media, when contemplating publication, are required to consider with extreme caution for fear of inciting copycat behaviour amongst vulnerable people.

What exactly do we mean by ‘vulnerable people’? Definitions vary according to different disciplines but one that is apt for media coverage is the Australian Government’s description of vulnerable adults: an individual aged 18 years and above who is or may be unable to take care of themselves, or is unable to protect themselves against harm or exploitation by reason of age, illness, trauma or disability, or any other reason.

Ethics is about taking the right action in difficult circumstances so thinking about vulnerability in ethical terms we should concern ourselves with the concepts of minimizing harm; fair and honest representation; truth and trust; accountability to those in the story, to the audience and to news employers, and independence of action.

We invite journalism scholars and practitioners to present articles that have a theoretical, analytical, critical, methodological and empirical approach which provide significant insights and understandings about the ethical challenges and potential benefits of media reporting of vulnerable people.

Topics authors might want to consider, but should not be limited to, include:
• Hearing the voices of the marginalised
• Approaches to interviewing/not interviewing vulnerable people
• Mental illness, access to the media and the issue of consent.
• Intrusion into grief/privacy versus fair representation
• Media representations of grief, bereavement, mental illness, suicide, disability, ethnic minorities, faith or sexual orientation.
• Using innovative practices to tell vulnerable people’s stories
• The influence of social media
• Engaging the audience in death, trauma and personal vulnerability e.g. overcoming compassion fatigue, including user generated content or offering audience interactivity
• Teaching ethics relating to media reporting of vulnerable people

Submission instructions
Send 200-word abstracts to the guest editors (addresses below) by 1 May 2017. Papers of around 6,000 words will be needed by 1 July. They will then be sent out for peer review. This process should be completed quickly – so final copy should go to the publishers by early August. The issue should appear in mid-September 2017.

Editorial information:
• Guest editor: Sallyanne Duncan, University of Strathclyde,
• Guest editor: Jackie Newton, Liverpool John Moores University,

The Legacy of Mata Hari: Women and Transgression

Filed under: Blogroll, News, ethical space editors blog, Headlines, journalism, conferences — news_editor @ 11:05 am

A one-day symposium at City, University of London, 28 October 2017

In October 1917, the woman known throughout the globe as Mata Hari was executed on espionage charges by a firing squad at Vincennes on the outskirts of Paris. Born Margaretha Geertruida Zelle (1876) in Leeuwarden, Holland, in 1905, she reinvented herself as the exotic dancer Mata Hari, trading on the fascination with colonial cultures in the fin de siècle. Although history has provided little evidence of her spying, Mata Hari’s French prosecutors condemned her as ‘the greatest female spy the world has ever known’, a vamp, a courtesan and a divorcee who had caused the deaths of 50,000 allied combatants.

On the centenary of her death, this symposium hosted by City, University of London acknowledges Mata Hari’s significance as an icon of feminine seduction, political betrayal and female transgression into male spheres of influence. This multi-national, cross-disciplinary event drawing from history, politics, cultural studies, literary journalism, the visual and performing arts, museum studies, translation studies and feminist studies will bring together biographers, academics, novelists, performers and curators from the Fries Museum. Contributors will address the cultural multiplicity of the anxieties about women in the public sphere that Mata Hari symbolised both during the First World War and as enduring concerns. Speakers will discuss Mata Hari’s legacy in the identification of transgressive women today, especially those in the political sphere and those involved in global or domestic conflicts. Presentations from cultural historians on Mata Hari’s historic influence on dance, cinema and representation of the female body are also welcome.

Proposals are invited for 20-minute papers or for conference panels on any aspect of Mata Hari and her legacy. Possible topics include but are not limited to:

• Mata Hari’s significance as a female icon during the First World War
• Representations of Mata Hari and female agents in theatre and film from the early 20th century
• Fictional and journalistic representations of female espionage agents
• Literary, cinematic, artistic and journalistic representations of transgressive women
• Representations of the female vamp and the performance of femininities
• The queer transgression of Mata Hari
• Post-colonialism and female erotic performance in the early twentieth century
• Women, war and espionage
• The creation and significance of female icons in the fin de siècle and beyond
• Female transgression and museum studies
• Cultural anxieties about female representation in political and domestic spheres

A publication based on the symposium is envisaged.

Please send proposals (300 words max. plus biographical paragraph of 200 words max.) to Dr Julie Wheelwright ( and Dr Minna Vuohelainen ( no later than 30 May, 2017.

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