Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures

School of Media and Communication


Professor Nicholas Pronay

Emeritus Professor of Communications Studies

0113 343 5801

Clothworkers' Building North, 2.04

B.A., Wales, F.R.Hist.S.

Research Interests

Communications history: the development of communications technologies, organisations and systems, with a focus on the evolution of techniques for controlling and utilising them in the service of the state from the middle ages onward, and with a particular concentration on the role which they played in the development of the modern, or ‘nation’ state, especially the English state. Special interest in the uses of film for ideological purposes during the formative period in Britain after the ‘communications revolution’ –  the conjoined arrival of telegraphy, telephony, photography, the moving picture and the wireless between 1850 and 1918 – in the context of an ongoing contest between ‘democratic’ and ‘authoritarian’ ideologies and state systems, from the first World War to the Cold War though effectively still ongoing.

Main  publications:

a)  Print

Propaganda, Politics and Film, 1928-1945; London, Macmillan 1982;

British Official Film in the Second World War, Oxford, Clio, 1980

The Political Re-education of Germany and her Allies WW2 London Croom Helm 1985

Parliamentary Texts of the Later Middle Ages, Oxford University Press 1980,

The Crowland Chronicle Continuations, London, Sutton 1986


b) Television

Eighteen programmes for BBC2 on the presentation of political and social subjects by newsreels, documentaries and television 1930-1960, grouped in three series: “Illusions of Reality” (1930’s) ; “Propaganda With Facts” (1940’s) “Visions of Change” (1950’s).    

External Appointments

Public engagements: President International Association for Media and History; Chairman, InterUniversity History Film Consortium, co-founder of Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television; service on political ‘working parties’ ‘committees’ and ‘think-tanks’, concerned with liberalising/deregulating television in the UK.

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