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Wed 18 March
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Fri 20 March
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Sat 21 March
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    16.00 - 17.00

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Wednesday 18 March 2020 11.00 - 13.00
P-2 RUR08 Making Rural History ‘Spectacular’? Moving Images and New Perspectives on Rural Society
Lipsius, 148
Network: Rural Chair: Ernst Langthaler
Organizer: Ulrich Schwarz-Graeber Discussant: Marijn Molema
Sven Lefèvre, Yves Segers : Bringing the Farm to the Living Room: Agrarische Televisie en Radio Omproep (ATRO) (1981-1997)
As historians we feel comfortable in archives, studying written sources. Yet, the concept of mediatization shows us that especially the 19 th and 20th century saw a rise of different media and their impact on society and culture. Each of these media has its own particularities and implications and should ... (Show more)
As historians we feel comfortable in archives, studying written sources. Yet, the concept of mediatization shows us that especially the 19 th and 20th century saw a rise of different media and their impact on society and culture. Each of these media has its own particularities and implications and should be studied in relation to other sources. In different ways and forms, moving images have had, and still have, an actual impact on rural and agricultural society. Therefore we should also integrate these kind of sources to fully understand agricultural and rural society since the 1920s. Likewise, television in Belgium affected this reality in different ways since the 1950s. By considering these audiovisual sources, we extend our range of information, which can bring new insights that cannot be found in written sources. It provides us with a way to see and hear agricultural society, the farmers, their families and their households, giving us a wide set of new research possibilities.
Since 1981 the Belgian public television provided time slots for intermediary structures. The Belgian Farmers’ League (Boerenbond) took this opportunity to found the Agrarian Television and Radio Broadcaster (ATRO, Agrarische Televisie en Radio Omroep). Until 1997 they produced short clips with an approximate length of 20 minutes. This wasn’t the only television production Boerenbond was involved in. Already in 1958 they launched ‘For Farmer and Horticulturist’ (“Voor Boer en Tuinder”), obviously, these productions were aimed at the farmers themselves and depicted all kinds of subjects related to the management of a farm.
ATRO however, originated from the idea that the farmers’ image was declining. The series were thus aimed at the non-agrarian public in order to improve agriculture’s reputation. This was done by showing the farmers’ daily life: which difficulties they had to deal with, how new regulations affected their business, their participation in different organizations in the village, family life, … By doing so, ATRO tried to ‘humanize’ the farmers’ image as opposed to the perceived image of the ‘always complaining farmer’. In this paper we will look deeper into which themes Boerenbond promoted in these episodes and why these themes in particular were chosen. How did they put these subjects to the screen and which arguments and imagery was used to communicate the message? Since ATRO was just one of the parties which were given airtime, only a couple of episodes per year were released. This makes these moving images an interesting case study to study the mediatization of the farmer in Flanders over time. (Show less)

Peter Moser : Changing Images? How do Films Influence our Perceptions of Human-animal Relations?
Men and animals are crucial in agriculture. While paper and pictorial sources are documenting various aspects of their manifold interactions, that applies even more to the agricultural films which were produced in great numbers from the 1920s onwards. Since many of these films are now – often for the first ... (Show more)
Men and animals are crucial in agriculture. While paper and pictorial sources are documenting various aspects of their manifold interactions, that applies even more to the agricultural films which were produced in great numbers from the 1920s onwards. Since many of these films are now – often for the first time – easily available for consultation to researchers via Online-Portals, the question arises: What impact does the new source have on our understanding of human-animal relations in agriculture and beyond? While the paper will focus on the interactions between men and animals as working companions in these films, it will also broach the question: what kind of aspects are shown (un-)intentionally and what aspects (we have knowledge of from written sources) are not exposed in these sources? (Show less)

Ulrich Schwarz-Graeber, Brigitte Semanek & Yves Segers : The ‘Backgrounds’ of Rural Life: Seeing Social Change through Home Movie Footage
Non-commercially produced films, especially home movies and amateur films, often are not actively staged down to the last detail. Beyond the foregrounded scenes, loaded with politics of representation, their backgrounds offer a rich panorama of structures and details that were (most of the time) not deliberately arranged and controlled by ... (Show more)
Non-commercially produced films, especially home movies and amateur films, often are not actively staged down to the last detail. Beyond the foregrounded scenes, loaded with politics of representation, their backgrounds offer a rich panorama of structures and details that were (most of the time) not deliberately arranged and controlled by the filmmakers. In this paper, we argue that these “incidentals of scenes” (Dai Vaughn) provide important visual evidence of historical rural environments. In many cases they display arrangements of material structures as well as flows of actions and movements usually disregarded by other historical sources. By comparing series of similar filming locations – the backyard, the village road, the inn, the farmstead, the farmland – and a close reading of the scenery behind the main object of contemplation, this paper explores and analyses visual traces of social and landscape change in post-war rural Austria. (Show less)



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