RURAL HISTORY 2013, BERN

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Keynote Session I: Lost in Translations?

In rural history, as in many other sciences, English becomes more and more the dominant language. The European Rural History Organisation (EURHO), for example, declares in its constitution unreservedly: "The working language of the Organization and of its website and other publications shall be English". No doubt, the process towards English as the lingua franca facilitates the communication and comprehension among rural historians from a variety of territorial backgrounds and linguistic and cultural orientations. It helps to overcome national science cultures and linguistic barriers which have in the past restrained, if not altogether prevented, the exchange of ideas and debates.

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Keynote Session III: Films - a new Source in Rural History

The agricultural sector was one of the pioneers when it came to producing moving pictures in the early 20th century. These films were used by agricultural organisations for educational purposes as well as for advertising products. At a time when films were rare, moving pictures provoked a great interest in the countryside and farm women began to make use of the new technique as early as scientists. That film was an important medium in political propaganda is well known – but what is much less appreciated is that films were widely used by scientists and state institutions to popularize their discoveries and to communicate with the wider public.

The Archives of Rural History (ARH) has unearthed, safeguarded and digitised a substantial number of agricultural films from the time period of the 1920's to the 1970's. In this lecture we will present extracts from a variety of films and discuss the potential of this new source for rural (and other) historians.