Popkult60: A closer look at popular culture in Europe over the long decade of the 1960s

Compared to the United States or to Britain, the history of popular culture has long had a difficult academic record in many continental European countries. Although this has also changed in the last two decades: popular cultural products, phenomena and practices have now entered the history of contemporary research and in recent writings on the history of the twentieth century, some are marginal, while some are extensive.

Nevertheless, the potential for recognition of popular culture as a tool for change in social and political conditions is still underestimated, and many relevant topics are still scientifically uncultivated. This is even more true from a transnational point of view and for European-focused examinations. Even if much has been written about methods and concepts of transnational history, clearly delineated, source-based studies that focus on aspects of popular culture in two or more societies in terms of comparison, transfer, and interlinking histories are still the exception rather than the rule.

The project “Popular Culture Transnational - Europe in the Long 1960s” aims to fill obvious contemporary historical desiderata in the field of transnational popular culture, to underpin theoretical debates with empirical case studies and to demonstrate the added value of transnational access to single country analyses. This is to be done through seven popular culture studies, all of which look beyond national borders and consider several countries, cultures and societies.

Particularly far-reaching insights are made possible through the common spatial - Western European - and temporal - the long 1960s - framing as well as the fundamentally interwoven research designs, that avoid the potential “ivory tower” risks by joining projects, and give the possibility of a highly-functional approach and almost inevitable synergies between the projects. Therefore, all planned examinations at their core are deliberately mutually interdependent, operate consistently with the same, at least with similar key questions and locate themselves in several research-relevant and eponymous fields of tension of “transnational popular culture”

The various projects are supervised by professors from the university of Saarland and the university of Luxembourg.

The project is led by Professor Dietmar Hüser, who is the spokesperson of the project, and the coordination is led by Maude Williams; both working at the University of Saarland.

After a first phase of the project (2018-2021) the research group is now in its second phase (2021-2024) with new themes, project leaders and researchers.

The seven projects of the first phase:

Jessica Burton, Anti-Heroes of Desamericanization? - The bandes dessinées of the Franco-Belgian School as actors of the popular cultural Europeanization of comic culture in the long 1960s*

Supervisor: Ass.-Prof. Dr. Benoît Majerus

Ann-Kristin Kurberg, Entertainment without Frontiers - Representing and Performing Other Cultures in German, French, and Spanish TV Shows of the 1960s

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Christoph Vatter

Richard Legay,Commercial radio stations and their soundscape in popular culture and practices in Western Europe in the 60s” - Transnational and transmedia approaches to the history of Radio Luxembourg/RTL and Europe n°1 in the larger 1960s

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Andreas Fickers

Dr. Gunter Mahlerwein, From the age of fairytales to real life – European TV series for children in the long 1960s

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Clemens Zimmermann

Aline Maldener,Youth Mass Media and their Popular Youth Culture in West Germany, Great Britain and France during the 1960s and 70s

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Clemens Zimmermann

Julia Wack, Ambitious Amateurs - European Filmclubs during the long 1960s

Supervisor: Prof. Dr Sonja Kmec

Dr. Maude Williams, Music-Field Europe – German-French Music Entanglements in Transatlantic und Inner-european Exchange Dynamics during the long 1960s

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Dietmar Hüser

The 10 new projects:

Ansbert Baumann, ‘Old fans’ and ‘new fans’? Fan Cultures in Western European Football of the Long 1960s: a transnational comparison of structures and trends in West Germany, France and Italy

Betreuer: Prof. Dr. Dietmar Hüser

Gunter Mahlerwein, From ‘popular‘ to ‚populär‘ and back - the European folk revival of the 1950s to 1970s from a transnational and transregional perspective

Betreuer: Prof. Dr. Clemens Zimmermann

Sonja Malzner, Dream Destination Indian Ocean. European Tourism Discourses in the Context of Decolonisation and the Beginning of Long-Distance Tourism

Betreuerin: Prof. Dr. Sonja Kmec

Sylvi Siebler, The Everyday Life of Revolt - The Transnationality of French and West German Rural Communities in the Long 1960s

Betreuer: Prof. Dr. Dietmar Hüser

Marie Kollek, Postcolonial Pop Cultures in Belgium, Germany and France. Representation of sub-Saharan Africa in the media ensemble of the long 1960s in the context of the Decolonisation

Betreuer: Prof. Dr. Christoph Vatter

Laura Steil, „Von der Tanzkapelle zur Coverband“ - Der „Ball“ als populärer Ort des Vergnügens und der musikalischen Sozialisation auf dem Land

Betreuer: Prof. Dr. Andreas Fickers

Véronique Faber, Funfairs in Border Areas - A Transregional History of the Luxembourg Amusement Park

Betreuerin: Prof. Dr. Machteld Venken

Matthias Höfer, ‘Hold the future in your hand’: Advertising radios, televisions and record players in Luxembourg, Germany and France in the 1960s

Betreuerin: Prof. Dr. Valérie Schafer

Antonia Schlotter, As Malefiz became Barricade – transnational board games’ history of the 1960s and 70s

Betreuer: Prof. Dr. Clemens Zimmermann

Maude Williams, “Music field Europe” – German-French Music Entanglements in Transatlantic und Innereuropean Exchange Dynamics during the long 1960s

Betreuer: Prof. Dr. Dietmar Hüser