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WOLEC-session: Bette Dam - Rethinking news narratives in war journalism. A dialogue between literary and journalism studies

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The next WOLEC session will take place on June 4 from 12:00 to 13:30 via Teams. Speaker Bette Dam (VUB) will present her doctoral research into contemporary war journalism. To a large degree, the questions Bette Dam raises deal with the three axes that define CLIC: genre (war journalism), media (printed and digital newspaper, war photography-news narratives) and space (the representation of the Middle East). Therefore, her presentation should make for an interesting and hopefully very rewarding WOLEC session. After the lecture, we will have a discussion on the possibility of an interdisciplinary exchange of knowledge between literary and journalism studies concerning the critical approach to narratives and genres. The session is the result of a larger conversation between WOLEC and BIJU (the Brussels Institute for Journalism Studies) to explore opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration.


Bette Dam is an investigative journalist and a lecturer and PhD candidate at the VUB who has made a career in journalism working in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. She is an ardent defender of press freedom and is one of the first journalists to openly address the dangers of the current pro-Western bias in war reporting. Dam has published several monographies on the politics of the War on Terror and was awarded the De Loep prize for critical research journalism in 2020. 



The doctoral research of Bette Dam aims to address and to change the narratives of contemporary war journalism. While reporting on the war on terror, most western journalists rely on the reports of international news organisations, thus solely presenting the dominant narrative of the US army or allies of the US. Dam’s goal is to correct this problem by developing a practical tool-kit which will help journalists to construct their narrative using the different sources in a critical manner. To this end, she is rewriting news texts with her students, searching for strategies to actively interrogate the way the genre is practiced today. Thanks to her experience as a war correspondent, she has a unique insight in how both intratextual and extratextual properties define the news narratives. Another objective of Bette Dam’s project is to imbue war journalism with a postcolonial sensibility to represent countries, cultures and individuals more correctly.



The lecture and ensuing discussion will be in English.

Please let us know whether you will be present before june 2.

Upon confirming your presence, you will receive the link to access the Teams meeting.


Thanks in advance and hope to see you there!

Kind regards,  

Stefan Clappaert & Anthony Manu