Connecting3Worlds logo

Simon Huxtable

posts .icon { width: 20px; height: 20px; float: right; position: absolute; right: 30px; bottom: 30px; }Simon Huxtable

I am a historian whose research focuses on media under communism, with a particular emphasis on Eastern Europe. Since completing my PhD in 2013, I have worked with Sabina Mihelj on a Leverhulme-funded project on the history of television under state socialism, co-authoring a monograph entitled From Media Systems to Media Cultures: Understanding Socialist Television (Cambridge University Press, 2018). More recently, I published News From Moscow: Soviet Journalism and the Limits of Postwar Reform (Oxford University Press, 2022), which draws on transcripts of behind-the-scenes editorial meetings to track the changing professional ethos of the Soviet journalist.

More recently, my work has focused on the international and transnational dimensions of postwar communications. My current research explores the role of international organizations in discussing, legislating and practicing media freedom after World War II. The project explores how battles over the meaning of ‘freedom’ – one of the defining ideological conflicts of the Global Cold War – played out in a range of media projects, ranging from attempts to codify press freedom in international law at the United Nations and training schemes for post-colonial journalists, to post-1991 schemes to propagate liberal notions of media freedom after the fall of communism.

My research for the Connecting Three Worlds project will examine the Soviet press’s coverage of healthcare exchanges between the socialist world and the Global South. Medical aid, training, and the construction of physical infrastructure abroad were some of the most important ways for the USSR to publicise the benefits of the Soviet system to both domestic and international audiences. Focusing both on the specialist and general-interest press, my research will take a longitudinal approach to this press coverage, engaging critically with media reports, mapping the changing geography of Soviet reporting, and tracking changing narratives from the 1950s until the early 1990s.