|| Cultural Representations of the Cold War
5-7 December, 2008 - Osnabrueck University
- Tony Shaw, University of Hertfordshire - Cinema and the Cold War
- Stephen Wagg, Leeds Metropolitan University - Sports and the Cold War
- Daniel Cordle, Nottingham Trent University - ‘Nuclear Texts’ in American Literature
The second half of the twentieth century was in many ways shaped by the Cold War. The division of the world into two superpowers and their respective allies determined state and foreign politics and influenced the lives of generations. It is no surprise that many scholars have analysed the Cold War’s political and historical impact, an area of research which gained new momentum with the opening of archives after the collapse of state socialism in 1989/1990 and has produced publications such as the journal Cold War History, published by the London School of Economics.
A number of scholars have noted that, although politics might be the most overt example, virtually no area of society remained untouched by this struggle for superiority. In contrast to ‘conventional warfare’, this was not merely a contest for military power, led by a handful of politicians and army officers. Instead, the Cold War has been described as a ‘war of words’, ‘war of ideologies’, a ‘psychological struggle’, and the struggle about ‘the better way of life’. In accordance with this insight, a new focus of research has recently been developed by scholars inquiring into the Cold War’s effect on areas as diverse as film, music, sports, literature, rhetoric, newspapers, TV, theatre (including opera and dance) and the arts.
This conference invites papers from ‘cultural’ areas of research to discuss the ways in which the Cold War has found expression in cultural products, both during the Cold War and since.
Points of interest are:
- Propaganda (praising/promoting one’s own side, criticising the other side)
- Criticism of the Cold War (the arms race and its logic, Cold War politics)
- Post-Cold War (revisionist) perspectives
- Values and ideologies
- Is there such a thing as a ‘Cold War aesthetics’?
- Paranoia, brainwashing and ‘witch-hunting’
- Gender aspects (e.g. were particular types of masculinity and femininity favoured in Cold War culture?)
- The state, censorship, and culture during the Cold War
- Consumer culture and the Cold War
- Education (e.g. in school books and museums)