The Transnational Flow of Ideas and Histoire Croisée with Attention to the Cases of France and Germany
Transnational connections have been a characteristic of Communication Studies since its beginnings, although the extent and the variety of contacts between territorially dispersed communication scholars have certainly increased over the last few decades due to the worldwide expansion of Communication Studies and the globalization of science in general (Charle et al. 2004, 9; Curran 2008, 46; McQuail 2009). Let us mention one historical example in a more detailed manner: In the 1920s, the pioneer of Japanese Newspaper Studies Hideo Ono (1885-1977), who was fluent in German, twice visited Germany, first in 1923 during a research journey to Europe, next to visit the International Press exhibition, Pressa, at Cologne in 1928. Ono got into an intense scientific debate with his colleague Karl d’Ester (1881-1960), the professor of Newspaper Studies (Zeitungswissenschaft) at the University of Munich. As a consequence, Ono imported theoretical approaches from Germany to Japan, which provoked fruitful discussions among young Japanese newspaper scholars in the interwar years (Schäfer 2012, 58). Ono and d’Ester both had hoped to “internationalize” Newspaper Studies and to legitimize this new academic pursuit in their scientific communities at home by using international contacts (Schäfer 2012, 60-63). Schäfer regards this scenario of close academic contacts as a part of the general intellectual travel and transfer that took place between Japan, Europe, and the United States during the 1920s (Schäfer 2012, 60). It ended with World War II: German and Japanese Newspaper Studies both intermingled with fascism (Schäfer 2012, 161-170; Kutsch 2010). Scholars in Germany and Austria were forced to flee their home countries during National Socialism. They arrived in a variety of continents and countries (the Jewish settlements in Palestine, Brazil,
Turkey, Great Britain, and the U.S. (Kutsch 1988; Averbeck 2001). Except for the emigration of Paul F. Lazarsfeld from Vienna to New York and his longlasting influence on Communication Studies worldwide (Langenbucher 1990; Fleck 2007), we know relatively little about these early transnational entanglements. Few historians of Communication Studies have investigated how the field’s history can be understood as a history of cross-border exchange. Mostly it has been described in terms of how Communication Studies developed within a single country.