My interest in the ‘rewriting’ of the past through media naturally led me to the field of nostalgia. Focusing especially on advertising, I explore how nostalgia stands as a stereotypical and fictional representation used to build mnemonic bridges in the present time. Based on a semiotic approach, I try to understand how media shape and crystallize imaginaries of the past. In this sense, nostalgia shall not be simply seen as a simple inspiration or content for media. By creating their own experiences of time and loss, media are a persuasive force of cultural beliefs in a twinkling past. Hence, the soothing properties of nostalgia are not conveyed just to offset an alleged charmless present or to cope with the idea of modernity. The relationship between media and nostalgia engages a deeper reflection on both personal and social dynamics as well as on institutions and identities.
Emmanuelle Fantin (born 1986) is a research and teaching assistant at Celsa (Paris Sorbonne) and member of the Group of Interdisciplinary Researches in Information and Communication (GRIPIC – Paris IV Sorbonne). She holds a Master’s degree in French Literature from La Sorbonne University and a Master’s degree in Communication from Celsa school. Her PhD dissertation analysed the transmission of the past through French advertising, questioning the “ordinary” uses and rewritings of collective memory, history and heritage.
My interest in nostalgia is grounded in individual and cultural experiences. Being born in Russia in the beginning of the 1980s and belonging to the so-called last generation of the Soviet children who matured during the first presidential terms of Vladimir Putin, I have been observing the development of Post-Soviet nostalgia. My curiosity to this phenomenon resulted in the completed PhD dissertation, called Mediated Post-Soviet Nostalgia (2014). Combining Raymon Williams’ concept of structure of feeling with theories of mediation and nostalgia, the book Mediated Post-Soviet Nostalgia examines the changes that occurred in the representations of the Soviet past in Russian culture from 1991 to 2012, covering a wide range of mediating arenas. Right now I continue my research on nostalgia, albeit with a slightly different focus. What fascinates me the most is agency of nostalgia, political nostalgia and gender nostalgia, as well as nostalgia theory and methodologies of research on nostalgia.
Ekaterina Kalinina (born 1983) earned MA degrees in Art History at the St Petersburg University and in European Studies at Uppsala University. Her PhD project in Media and Communication Studies “Mediated Post-Soviet Nostalgia” was carried out under the auspices of the Baltic and East European Graduate School (BEEGS) and the Research Area on Critical and Cultural Theory, Södertörn University. She has also been a visiting researcher at Copenhagen University and Aarhus University. Right now she is a research fellow at Swedish National Defense University and works with the questions of Russian patriotism, biopolitics, nostalgia and national identity. As the Vice-president of the Swedish organisation Nordkonst she also manages cultural projects and conducts research on cross-cultural artistic practices and intercultural communication.
As a media and communication scholar rooted in social sciences, I am interested in the relationship of media and nostalgia on a societal level. How does media change affect nostalgia in contemporary societies, what is its purpose for individuals, communities, and the society at large? How are media, memory and communication involved? I wrote my dissertation about the relationship of media, nostalgia and digital publics to answer these questions especially under the assumption that nostalgia is a reaction to change and the subsequent feelings of loss evoked in people. Media are included in this approach not only as technologies of mediation but in their interrelation with culture and society and their potential as agents of change. Hence, possibilities and limits of communication emerging through media change contribute to different nostalgic mnemonic practices and influence who is included in the mediated negotiation of the past. In my understanding, it is important to contextualize the nexus of media and nostalgia in past and contemporary societies and go beyond the social sciences perspective by integrating established philosophical and historical conceptualizations of nostalgia.
Manuel Menke is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Communication at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. From 2018 to 2020, he was an Assistant Professor at the Department of Media and Communication (IfKW) at LMU Munich, Germany. He did his PhD and worked as a postdoc from 2011 to 2018 at the University of Augsburg in Germany after he studied communication and politics at the German Universities of Mainz and Bamberg. His research interests comprise (theories of) social and media change, media and nostalgia, memory and narratives in media and public sphere(s), and journalism research. He is co-founder of the International Media and Nostalgia Network (IMNN) and has published several articles, chapters, and a dissertation about media and nostalgia.
In the winter of 2011, I was sitting with Céline and Olivier in a living room somewhere in Quebec and our conversations were filled with nostalgic thoughts of past times and distant places. We began talking about the incredible boom of these longings in the media and in social networks. On that very evening I decided to organise an international conference on the topic. It eventually took place in September of the following year at the University of Geneva under the name ‘Flashbacks-nostalgic media and other mediated forms of nostalgia conference’ and most of the proceedings but also invited papers were then published in the Palgrave Macmillan volume (memory studies series) “Media and Nostalgia“. The idea of the IMNN has emerged during a discussion at the IAMHIST conference in Bloomington 2015 and with Emmanuelle, Ekaterina and Manuel we decided to create this network for “creative nostalgizing”. Being certainly nostalgic myself from time to time, the reflection on media and nostalgia is related to my general research interests that deal with media, communication, memory, history as well as with media events their commemorations, and more widely with the question of time and temporalities.
Katharina Niemeyer (born 1980) is an Associate Professor of the French Press Institute/Centre for Interdisciplinary Research and Analysis of the Media (CARISM)/ University Paris 2, Sorbonne Universities and a IAMHIST council member. She holds a Master in European Media Culture (Bauhaus University Weimar and University of Lyon 2) and a certificate of further education (DEA) in information and communication studies (Lyon2, Lyon 3 and ENS-LSH). Until July 2012, she worked as a lecturer and researcher at the University of Geneva, where she also obtained her Ph.D. in media and communication studies in 2009. Her major areas of research are in the field of media culture, media and communication theory. She is particularly interested in analogue and digital media, (international) media events, media and terrorism, (collective) memories, commemorations and history by including intercultural approaches. Katharina translated texts of Jean Baudrillard and Bernard Miège and is the webmaster of IMNN.