The annual Eurovision Song Contest is one of the world’s longest-running and most popular television shows, having been first staged in 1956. The European Broadcasting Union, the Eurovision Song Contest’s organiser, has always maintained that the contest is a non-political event that promotes cooperation among the European Broadcasting Union’s members, national public service broadcasting organisations from Europe and the Mediterranean rim. Yet, as entries in it represent states, the Eurovision Song Contest has always reflected political relations in Europe and has been appropriated by governments in their cultural diplomacy. For example, as a Western European event during the Cold War, the Eurovision Song Contest inspired the formation of and was challenged by an Eastern European equivalent, the Intervision Song Contest. In his talk, Dr. Dean Vuletic, the world’s leading academic expert on the history of the Eurovision and Intervision song contests, will address why these two song contests have been so politically significant for Europe. He will also discuss how this year’s Eurovision Song Contest reflects contemporary politics in Europe, especially with regards to East Europe.
Dean Vuletic is a historian of contemporary Europe based in the Research Center for the History of Transformations at the University of Vienna. After receiving his doctoral degree in history from Columbia University, he designed the world’s first-ever university course on the Eurovision Song Contest, which he began teaching at New York University. He is the author of Postwar Europe and the Eurovision Song Contest (London: Bloomsbury, 2018), the only scholarly monograph on the history of the contest, which he produced under a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Intra-European Fellowship. As a Lise Meitner Fellow, he has also led a research project on the history of the Intervision Song Contest. Dean is a leading media commentator and public speaker on the Eurovision Song Contest, and more information about his work can be found on his website www.deanvuletic.com.