Keynote speakers

For this edition of CHINED the organisers have approached recognised scholars whose recent work has led to important developments in the study of historical news discourse from a comparative and transnational perspective of historical news discourse. David Finkelstein, Honorary Senior Research Fellow, University College London, specialises in the history of the British colonial press. Brendan Dooley’s recent research career at University College Cork has focused on seventeenth century handwritten newsletters in the Italian provinces, Britain and across borders. Roberto Valdeón at the University of Oviedo is an expert on news translation.

D. Finkelstein: British colonial periodicals in context

The history of the British colonial press over two centuries of colonial expansion and contraction is one of contestation, negotiation, accommodation, and interpretation. It is a history of the acquisition and use of print communication tools for a range of purposes, including the circulation of colonial knowledge across imperial networks; the communication of information about economic activities and political events in both English and indigenous languages; the dissemination of metropolitan culture; the provision of entertainment; the creation of communities of readers; the constitution of individual and group identities; and the mobilisation of collective resistance to colonialism. This presentation briefly examines the complex histories of Britain’s colonial periodicals to gain a sense of how they functioned under colonial rule between 1800-1970.

  • Ballantyne, Tony, Lachy Paterson and Angela Wanhalla, eds. (2020), Indigenous Textual Cultures: Reading and Writing in the Age of Global Empires, Durham NC: Duke University Press.
  • Finkelstein, David, David Johnson and Caroline Davis, eds. (2024). Edinburgh Companion to British Colonial Periodicals. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
  • Joshi, Priti (2021), Empire News. The Anglo-Indian Press Writes India, Albany: Suny Press.
  • Potter, Simon (2003), News and the British World: The Emergence of an Imperial Press system, 18761922, Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  • Les, Switzer, ed. (1997), South Africa’s Alternative Press: Voices of Protest and Resistance, 1880s-1960s, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Peterson, D. R., Hunter, E., and Newell, S. eds. (2016), African Print CulturesNewspapers and their Publics in the Twentieth Century (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press).

B. Dooley: News discourse in a crisis:  Seventeenth-century stories in comparative perspective

War, revolution, regime change, and much else:  the two decades from 1640 to 1660 in Europe had it all (Rabb 2009).  How did readers and reporters in one place keep up with all that was going on in another? No wonder translation was a booming business, starting a trend toward an international sharing of news that continues to date (Valdeón 2020).  Of course, conveying the crucial events of neighboring societies and cultures in terms comprehensible at home was (and is) no easy job, even supposing that was the only purpose of writing.  Moreover, mixed motives and misapprehensions often colored, even transformed, the telling, such that translation becomes a special multidimensional form of narrative carrying with it the baggage of polysemy, difference and deference (Conway 2015, Davier et al. 2018).  This voyage to the center of original and translated crisis narrative in France, Britain and the Spanish Empire will investigate how events got to the page and where they went from there.   In particular, the final results will be brought to bear, of the four-year EURONEWS Project, including transcriptions in several languages from original newsletter documents originating at that time in numerous locations around Europe ( ).  Our conclusions will take in how the theory and practice of historical translation may be understood and modified to suit the circumstances of the period in question and other periods which might provide interesting source material for further investigation.

  • Boerio, D. , 2024, “1648: The Year of Revolutions”, in B. Dooley, and P. Molino, eds., Years of News, Turnhout: Brepols.      
  • Boerio, D. 2023, “News from Naples (1647-48): Communicative effects, public spaces and media landscape”, in V. Caputo, L. Gianfrancesco, P. Palmieri, eds., Tales of Two Cities:  Media events in Early Modern Florence and Naples, Rome.
  • Brownlees, N., 2011, The Language of Periodical News in Seventeenth-Century England.  Cambridge Scholars Press.
  • Cecconi, E., 2019, “Populism in English Civil War news discourse. A corpus-assisted discourse study of Mercurius Britanicus”, mediAzioni 24,, ISSN 1974-4382.
  • Conway, K., ed. 2015. “Culture and News Translation.” Special Issue of Perspectives 23 (4).
  • Davier, L., C. Schäffner, and L. van Doorslaer, eds. 2018. “Methodological Issues in News Translation Research.” Across Languages and Cultures 19 (2).
  • Dooley, B., 2022, “Galeazzo Gualdo Priorato and the Politics of Information,” Quaderni veneti, Studi e ricerche 6: 163-78.
  • Dooley, B., 2018, “Las nuevas de Flandes, entre la divulgación y la sorpresa,” in Gennaro Varriale, ed. ¿… y si fuera cierto? Universidad Alcalá de Henares (UAH), 81-100.

R. Valdeón: Translated news: The evolving role of translation in journalism

Despite the limited attention paid to translation in journalism/communication studies, translation played a crucial role in the appearance and development of journalism. This talk will consider how translation has historically contributed to news production from the perspective of translation studies, whose interest in this form of cultural and linguistic mediation has increased exponentially over the past two decades. To discuss the evolving role of translation in the news production, I will use concepts that have been widely discussed in translation studies, such as visibility/invisibility (focusing on the shift from the central role of translators in the early modern period to their marginal/invisible role as the practice was professionalized), stable/unstable sources (which exemplify the shift from literal translations of source texts to the gradual disappearance of an original as the source), direct/indirect (with respect to the use of different types of sources in different languages), and domestication/foreignization (as characteristic of the move away from the source text to the target readership). The talk will use examples from different historical periods (e.g. the early modern period, the nineteenth century) and geographical areas (Europe, the Americas, China) to illustrate how these concepts can contribute to understanding this evolution.