How television emerged and grew under socialism is the topic of a new book by Virginia Tech’s Heather Gumbert. 

Her book, "Envisioning Socialism: Television and the Cold War in the German Democratic Republic,” traces how television became a medium valued not only as entertainment but also as a way of defining a vision of society.

Gumbert, an associate professor of history, will discuss her book on Thursday, Nov. 6, at 3 p.m. on the second floor of Newman Library.

Her lecture will be the third in the Visible Scholarship Initiative series this semester.

The first book published in English to examine this topic, Gumbert explores the difficulties East German authorities had defining and executing a clear vision of the society they hoped to establish. She examines how television helped to stabilize society there in a way that ultimately worked against the utopian vision the authorities thought they were cultivating.

The book was published earlier this year by University of Michigan Press.

Gumbert joined the Virginia Tech faculty in 2003. Her teaching and research interests include cultural history, visual culture and media studies, and urban history. She has contributed chapters to three books on the Cold War era and has been published in scholarly journals, most recently an article on transnational television exchange in the 1960s in VIEW: Journal of Television History and Culture.

The Visible Scholarship Initiative is a collaboration between the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences and the University Libraries. Illustrating how faculty address key questions, employ varied methods, and produce significant results makes it possible to acknowledge and encourage research and creative activities that engage challenging questions and demonstrate sophisticated understanding.



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