A central problem of media histories is the reciprocal relation of mediality and historicity: History is a product of media, media in turn are a result of history. Particular challenges for every form of media historiography are related to this issue. Theoretical reflection needs to underlie both the historical approaches and the access to that which is considered to be medium/media in a given situation. This mutual conditioning structures the historiographical practice, e.g. when dealing with source material, representing historiographically, and reflecting on both their mediality.
Historical research is increasingly concerned with the reciprocity of mediality and historicity. A corresponding effort regarding a discussion of historical methods on the part of media studies is still pending, but promises great rewards: So, what does it mean to write media history within the disciplinary frame of media studies? What are specific premises and methods of our discipline? What is their relation to the approaches of other disciplines, e.g. those of history and communication studies? How can the approaches of media studies themselves be historicized?
The research group “Media History” wants to create a forum for such questions within the German Society of Media Studies (Gesellschaft für Medienwissenschaft). It aims to promote network building between projects and institutions working on media history, attempting to stimulate the exchange of ideas and the discussion on theoretical and methodological issues.
Matthias Koch (Leuphana Universität Lüneburg, email@example.com)
Christian Köhler (Universität Paderborn, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Monique Miggelbrink (Universität Paderborn, email@example.com)