Thursday, March 11, 2010

Call for Papers: Cold War Cultures

Transnational and Interdisciplinary Perspectives
Conference at the University of Texas at Austin
September 30 - October 3, 2010

Submission Deadline: April 1, 2010
If war is the continuation of politics by other means, then Cold War politics can be seen as a continuation of war by other means. This interdisciplinary conference seeks to explore these means in the context of global encounters between states and "Blocs" as well as engagements with "East" and "West." Indeed, after the end of the Second World War, a new kind of "war" continued and expanded as governments and/or interest groups created and continually reshaped institutions, media, popular culture, and various elements of social and political life. Globally, these broad-based transformations took place in the shadow of Cold War politics, especially as expressed through rhetoric of threat and mutual annihilation. In particular, cultural phenomena shaped by Cold War power conflicts take on myriad forms in a host of geographic contexts, both in and outside the Bloc, from iconic public representations to distinctive media advertising, memorable political speeches, world expositions, spy novels and films, and a plethora of official and popular modes of expression. In some places, of course, military or paramilitary conflagrations translated Cold War politics into "hot" wars, which further fueled the fire of Cold War imaginations.

We invite proposals for individual 20-minute papers that explore any geographic area or disciplinary field of Cold War studies, as well as contributions that might engage the notion the of "Cold War" theoretically. Full panels of three papers may also be proposed (however, please submit all papers and biographies for full panels together in a single email).


  • Deadline: April 1, 2010
  • Submit your abstract of 150-200 words in an email (no attachments) to
  • Put "ABSTRACT: Cold War Conference" in the subject line of the email.
  • Include a brief biographical statement (max. 150 words) in the email.

POSSIBLE PAPER & PANEL TOPICS include, but are not limited to:

  • Material and consumer cultures
  • Popular culture and everyday life
  • Borders, walls, and the Iron Curtain
  • Surveillance, torture and show trials
  • Literature, music, art and architecture, film and other media
  • The space and arms races
  • Commodities, trade and the environment
  • Cold War client states, arms dealing and proxy wars
  • Spies and intelligence communities (in fact or fiction)
  • Dissidents and defections
  • "Neutral" sites, nonalignment, and the intersection of North-South and East-West dynamics
  • International institutions and Trans-national networks
This conference is the centerpiece in a series of several events on the UT campus, all of which are free and open to the public. Plans include a Cold War Film Series, curated and introduced by members of the UT faculty and multiple keynotes during the conference, representing the geopolitical and cultural interests of the UT Centers and Institutes.

For more information, consult the conference website at OR contact the organizing committee at

Hat tip: H-Law.