The Liberal Art University in Hong Kong
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LEMBERG, Diana
Assistant Professor

Tel.: (852) 2616-8316
Fax.: (852) 2467-7478
Email: dianalemberg@LN.edu.hk 

Academic & Professional Qualifications

Ph.D., Yale University, History, 2014

M.Phil., Yale University, History, 2011

B.A., Princeton University, History, 2005

 

Areas of Interest

United States in the world; twentieth century U.S. political, cultural, and intellectual history; colonial and imperial formations; history of the social sciences; history of technology; media history.

 

Publications

  • Research
  • Conference Presentations

Research

My first book, Barriers Down: Freedom of Information and American Power (forthcoming from Columbia University Press), charts the history of freedom of information from its birth in the 1940s United States to the beginnings of the digital age in the 1980s. Following the Second World War, generations of Americans would argue that abundant information promotes democracy and undermines regimes that seek to control what people read, hear, and watch. Yet this approach, aimed at attracting mass global support, has also met with criticism and resistance—from allies as well as adversaries. The largely unexplored history of freedom of information suggests both the strengths and the limitations of U.S. global power from 1945 through the 1980s. Barriers Down tells this story, and in doing so exposes the analog antecedents of contemporary debates over digital privacy, cultural diversity, and digital access.


A second project, with the working title "Applied Linguistics in the American Century," analyzes how Americans navigated the embodied reality of global language diversity in the twentieth century. Situated at the intersection of the history of the United States in the world, the history of ideas and of the social sciences, and the history of decolonization and development, the project explores how U.S. international engagements—from the Second World War through the Vietnam War to university exchanges in post-Mao China—shaped American efforts to learn languages and to perfect new language-training pedagogies and technologies. It will also examine how American language capabilities (or lack thereof) inflected the deployment of U.S. power outside of North America.


My work has been supported by the Georges Lurcy Charitable and Educational Trust, the Smith Richardson Foundation, the Foreign Language Area Studies Program, the Hong Kong Research Grants Council Early Career Scheme, and the Hong Kong Research Grants Council General Research Fund.



Publications

  • Barriers Down: Freedom of Information and American Power (New York: Columbia University Press, forthcoming).
  • "The End of Empires and Some Linguistic Turns: British and French Language Policies in Inter- and Post-war Africa," in British and French Colonialism in Africa, Asia and the Middle East: Connected Empires across the Eighteenth to the Twentieth Centuries, edited by James R. Fichter (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019).
  • "'The Universal Language of the Future': Decolonization, Development, and the American Embrace of Global English, 1945-1965," Modern Intellectual History 15/2 (Aug., 2018): 561-92 (https://doi.org/10.1017/S1479244317000166).
  • "History of Media and Human Rights" (with Mark Hampton), in Howard Tumber and Silvio Waisbord, eds., Routledge Companion to Media and Human Rights (London and New York: Routledge, 2017).

 

 

Conference Presentations

  • "'The Weapon of Words': Military Language Training and U.S. Internationalism, 1941-1958." Paper presented at the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations Conference, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, June 2018.
  • "Speaking in Tongues: U.S. Power, Applied Linguistics, and Development Aid, 1945-1970." Paper presented at the Society for the History of Recent Social Science Conference, Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands, June 2017.
  • "The End of Empires and Some Linguistic Turns." Paper presented at the "Connected Histories, Mirrored Empires: British and French Imperialism from the 17th through the 20th Centuries" Conference, University of Hong Kong, May 2016.
  • "A Prehistory of Media Convergence: Film in Euro-American Freedom of Information Debates, 1944-1948." Public lecture sponsored by the Hong Kong European Studies Association, Hong Kong Baptist University, Oct. 2015.
  • "Broadcasting Satellites, U.S. Global Power, and the Francophone World." Paper presented at the International Association for Media and Communication Research Conference, Montreal, Canada, Jul. 2015.
  • "Technologizing Freedom: U.S. Media Industries and Human Rights, 1943-1950." Paper presented at the Business History Conference, Columbus, Ohio, Mar. 2013.
  • "Towards a Radical Historiography of Human Rights: Modernizing Press and Speech Freedoms in the United States, 1943-1950." Paper presented at the Radical Americas Conference, University College London, Jan. 2013.
  • "'[The] Experiments are of International Significance': Television, Education, and Human Rights in Postwar France." Paper presented at the Warren Susman Conference, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, Mar. 2011.
  • "André Bazin and Cold War Film Festivals, 1946-1953." Paper presented at the "Ouvrir Bazin/Opening Bazin" Conference, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, Dec. 2008.
  • "André Bazin et les festivals de cinéma au début de la Guerre froide, 1946-1953." Paper presented at the "Ouvrir Bazin/Opening Bazin" Conference, Université Paris Diderot, Nov. 2008.