This colloquium takes the form of a two day presentations and series of conversations aiming to make an intervention into the broader discussions on transnationalism by bringing together scholars whose research focuses on Eastern Europe, the Arab Peninsula, the Balkans, the Caucuses, the Middle East and North Africa with a media-centric scope. Scholars attending the Transforming cultural geographies: Reflections on transnational media flows colloquium will interrogate changing mediascapes in these regions and map novel reconfigurations of transnational media flows in diasporic, national, local, and global media spheres.
Over the past few decades the concept of transnationalism has become a hotly debated topic. The transnational flow of cultures, finances, people, and commodities is now seeping through and disrupting the borders of even the most ‘closed’ and ‘detached’ societies. Furthermore, the multiplication of sources and receivers of these flows, the rapid de-centralisation and disordering of transnational and transcultural nodes, and the increasing ease of accessibility to these nodes and flows by previously marginalized societies are all changing the cultural, political, and economic textures of geographies all around the world. In fact, on the one hand, we see how previously subjugated societies are today becoming important political, economic, and cultural actors both in their regions and in the global arena due to the impact of these transnational flows. On the other hand, we are witnessing the ways in which these societies are experiencing transformations within themselves – again directly linked with the processes of transnationalisation.
While of course transnationalisation is being experienced in every part of the world, we argue that some societies are experiencing the implications of transnationalism more profoundly and in more particular ways – mostly due to their political, cultural, and historical heritages. Transforming cultural geographies: Reflections on transnational media flows colloquium aims to attract attention to one of these geographies which have been highly affected by the implications of the processes of transnationalisation, particularly within the last decade. It is our contention that these processes have contributed in unprecedented ways to both linked and eclectic transformations among the societies at the crossroads of Eastern Europe, the Arab Peninsula, the Balkans, the Caucuses, the Middle East, and North Africa. Furthermore, we argue that at the heart of these profound changes lie the new information and communication technologies (ICTs), and the ways in which these relatively new forms of communications are being deployed by both the political and economic authorities and the publics in the region.