Call for papers: The Blue Pencil of Censorship
The Blue Pencil of Censorship: Controlling, Bypassing and Diffusing information
in Non-Democratic Regimes in the 20th Century
International Interdisciplinary Conference
October 2, 2020
Eugène Lyons, an American journalist accredited in Moscow in the late 1920s, recalled the regular censorship he encountered as a foreign correspondent there. His testimony not only reveals the direct constraints from the censors, but also the specific practices of reading the Soviet press under state control and the necessity for foreign journalists to master language and behaviour codes in order to exercise their job. In addition to that, it presents the multiple social interactions between rival journalists and censors, and the profile and daily practices of those in charge of censorship (Lyons 1938).
Lyons’ description departs significantly from the wide-spread image of a censor armed with a blue pencil and accomplishing a repressive state power act in a sort of social vacuum. Rather, it invites us to re-examine the censorship of information in non-democratic countries in the 20th century in a broader framework of social history with its focus on actors, their practices and circulations. This gives us a window to … READ MORE