Broadcasting in the triangle: negotiating colonial identity and race in Bermuda's emerging media industries

Selassie, Dana (2017) Broadcasting in the triangle: negotiating colonial identity and race in Bermuda's emerging media industries. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Caught within a triangle of identity, Bermuda posits itself today as colonized-British, but not English; Americanized, but not American; having deeply rooted ties to the Afro-Caribbean, yet, not a part of the West Indies, situating itself as an exemplar of cultural hybridity. With its political ties with Britain as the oldest colony in the British Empire, questions of identity become even more complex for Bermuda when historical narratives such as slavery, war and contestations of colonial power and control are woven into the social, economic and cultural fabric of the island. Likewise, the complicated and ambiguous relationship between national identity and broadcasting presents further challenge to Bermuda as its hybrid colonial broadcasting system intricately ties into its transitioning, and at times, tempestuous colonial identity.

This thesis will investigate the nuances of Bermudian colonial identity and Bermuda’s emerging media industries between the 1930s and the 1960s, one of the most turbulent periods in the colony’s history of identity construction. It will examine how contestations of identity and race played out in Bermuda’s early media forms, such as newspapers and radio, influencing and shaping the arrival of television and articulations of colonial identity. The thesis will illustrate how economic challenges in Britain in the late 1930s led to the arrival of the US military base and the introduction of Bermuda’s first national radio station in the 1940s. It will discuss how the American military shaped the arrival of television on the island with ZBK-TV in 1955, and impacted the emergence of Britain’s first colonial television station, the Bermuda Broadcasting Company’s ZBM-TV in 1958. It will analyse how racial uprisings in black America and colonial resistance in the West Indies in the late 1950s helped in the desegregation of Bermuda in 1959 (during the island’s 350 year celebrations of British colonialism), forging the arrival of the island’s first racially integrated broadcasting company, the black owned Capital Broadcasting in 1963.

As Bermuda’s radio and television industries emerged and developed, influenced by practices established within the island’s colonial newspapers and broadcasting cultures of America and Britain, this thesis illustrates the deep and complex connections between broadcasting and national identity in Bermuda, and how the colony navigated these factors both internally and externally. Moreover, as Bermuda sought to navigate its British colonial status and cultural affinity to American broadcast culture, and with the island’s white hegemony operating as cultural architects to support and sustain colonial hegemony by reinforcing racial hierarchy through Bermudian broadcasting, this thesis argues that there is a direct relationship between broadcasting and national identity and that Bermuda and its broadcasting industry collaboratively articulate a transitioning hybrid colonial identity.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Pearson, Roberta
Grainge, Paul
Subjects: P Language and literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1990 Broadcasting
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies
Item ID: 45339
Depositing User: Selassie, Dana
Date Deposited: 13 Dec 2017 04:40
Last Modified: 06 May 2020 12:33

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