Submitted by amywatts on Wed, 08/24/2016

The Peabody Archives is a unique collection of media history, housing over 90,000 programs submitted to the Peabody Awards since its inception in 1941. What makes the collection exceptional is the breadth of stories through which their contributors have made a claim for historical significance. Items from local broadcasters, in particular, carry special value due to their rareness (Peabody houses the only remaining copies), as well as the fact that local broadcasters were much more active in telling local stories through original programming several decades ago. As such, the Archives is a distinctive repository of cultural memory that challenges our understanding of who and what we are as a nation and what we think we know about television and its role in recent American history.

The Symposium is the second of a two-part conference, and the culmination of a collaborative research initiative based on the Archives and its holdings. It will be held Oct. 28-30 at the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries. Distinguished television studies scholars from across the country will present new research to expand current understandings of American cultural history as seen on TV, and offer a wide range of critical perspectives on what Peabody Awards submissions have to teach us. Some of the topics include: what makes “quality television”; the celebration of our nation’s bicentennial; representations of homosexuality; early medical television journalism; conceptions of blackness; fake news; and the War on Drugs. The scholars’ findings will be the start of a new series on Television History produced by the University of Georgia Press.

All UGA faculty, staff, and students are welcome to attend. Please RSVP to by September 30.

This event is generously supported by the UGA Office of the Vice President for Research, University of Georgia Libraries, Willson Center for Humanities & Arts, Grady College of Journalism & Mass Communication, and University of Georgia Press.

Symposium Schedule


8:30am – 9:30am
Coffee & Opening Discussion

9:30am – 12:00pm

The Peabody Archive and the Presentation and Production of TV History

  • The Archive and The Index: Situational Historiography in the Early Years of Television
    Dr. Mark Williams, Dartmouth College
  • Supporting Materials That Matter: Paratextual Value in the Peabody Archives
    Dr. Jonathan Gray, University of Wisconsin
  • The Peabody Archive and the Production of American Media History
    Dr. Derek Kompare, Southern Methodist University
  • Discourses of Excellence: What Peabody Awards Submissions Teach Us About “Quality Television”
    Dr. Jason Mittell, Middlebury College

12:00pm – 1:30pm

1:30pm – 4:00pm
Media Citizens: City, Region, Nation, World

  • Strikes, Riots, and Muggers: How Mayor Lindsay Weathered New York City’s Image Crisis
    Dr. Heather Hendershot, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Bicentennial Programming in the Peabody Archive
    Dr. Christine Becker, University of Notre Dame
  • INTERTEL: From International Acclaim to Oblivion, and Back
    Dr. Michele Hilmes, University of Wisconsin

4:00pm – 5:00pm


8:30am – 9:30am
Coffee & Opening Discussion

9:30am – 12:00pm

Reassessing Boundaries of Subjectivity and Visibility

  • Peabody Camp: Fifties Contenders and Queer Gender
    Dr. Quinn Miller, University of Oregon
  • Fugitive Subjectivities
    Dr. Herman Gray, University of California, Santa Cruz
  • Local News in the 1970s and the Emergence of Gay Visibility
    Dr. Susan J. Douglas, University of Michigan
  • Reframing Black Power Television: Ossie Davis and the Politics of Representation on Public Television
    Dr. Allison Perlman, University of California, Irvine

12:00pm – 1:30pm

1:30pm – 4:00pm
Revisiting Strategies of Public Service

  • “Medical School of the World:” Education and Public Service through Post-War Medical Television
    Dr. Susan Murray, New York University
  • Serious Fake News on Local Television in the 1970s and 1980s
    Dr. Ethan Thompson, Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi
  • Documenting Illegal Drugs in the 1980s
    Dr. Deborah L. Jaramillo, Boston University


8:30am – 9:00am

9:00am – 11:00am
Closing Discussion
Responses by Dr. Lynn Spigel, Northwestern University

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