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Transnational Mediators of Knowledge

The Migration of Czechoslovakian Journalists and their Work for Radio Free Europe in Munich (1950-1970)

During the Cold War the radio was one of the most important types of media. Radio broadcasts enabled communication between the societies of the "West" and the "East" at a time when free exchange beyond the borders of the bloc seemed hardly possible. This research project, which began in 2009, focuses on the American broadcasting channel Radio Free Europe (RFE) which, as a protagonist of the Cold War, acted as a mediator of knowledge in the European-American space. Since the beginning of the 1950s Radio Free Europe has been resident in Munich.

The main part of the research concentrates on the Czechoslovakian editorial staff of Radio Free Europe, consisting primarily of Czech and Slovak emigrants. Their broadcasts to Czechoslovakia offered their countrymen an alternative source of news coverage concerning the political and social conditions of the country as well as “western” culture. Although the reception of RFE was forbidden in Czechoslovakia, the station was one of the few alternative sources of information for many Czechs and Slovaks.

The goal of the research project is to analyze the different directions of the transfer of knowledge and processes of generating knowledge in the German-Czechoslovakian-American three-way relationship: between the German society which offered a new home to the emigrants, the American work environment as well as Czechoslovakia as the country of origin of the emigrants and the target society of the radio broadcasts.

The research project is part of the Bavarian research association "Migration und Wissen" (ForMig, Migration and Knowledge). The association is funded by the Bavarian Ministry of State for science, research and art.

 


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