CfP: Cold Warriors

Cold Warriors. The Cultural Avant-Garde of the Bipolar Struggle

Date : November 26-27, 2015
Place : Sciences Po, Paris, France

Deadline : May 31, 2015

For most of the second part of the twentieth century, geopolitical issues
remained at the center of the historiographical debate on the Cold War. Culture
and ideology, however, have gained more and more attention in recent
historiography. New emphasis has been placed on the role of ideas and language,
as well as on the agency of specific individual and collective actors. In this
perspective, the concept of the Cold Warrior appears crucial. Generally used to
refer to governments’ officials who were directly involved in the
policymaking process, the notion expands here to encompass all those thinkers
actively engaged in the definition of the nature of the bipolar struggle and
the means necessary to wage it. At the same time products and agents of decades
of divisive experiences of politics, they built antithetical, antagonistic, and
more or less belligerent Weltanschauungen, often acting as cultural avant-garde
of the West-East confrontation. Their role was twofold: on the one hand, they
had to define a common image of the enemy; on the other, they had to construct
their own side’s self-representation and

Although this kind of historical analysis remains defined by the chronological
boundaries of the Cold War, the study of these ‘embedded’ ideologists could
be inserted in a broader temporal dimension, as the confrontational dynamics
that they contributed to set in motion and the discursive categories they
produced transcend traditional categorizations. The two-day conference will
focus on the personal paths of a number of political, intellectual and
institutional protagonists of the cultural struggle between the two blocs.

Their common denominator, far from being defined by geography or profession,
will lay in their willingness to engage with the ideological context of the
Cold War – and in their ability to shape it. An important theme will thus
remain the analysis of the relationship between the intellectual and political
power. The conference will bring together different case studies and
interpretations from both sides of the Iron Curtain, seeking possible syntheses
and new interpretations. Critiques of bipolarism, and the elaboration of
non-aligned or neutral positions will also be taken into account.

We invite proposals of 250-300 words from young researchers (PhD students, post
doctorate and early career researchers). We particularly welcome transnational
and interdisciplinary perspectives. Selected proposals will be divided into
three panels with commentary throughout the two days. Full papers shall be
submitted in English and they will be circulated in advance.

A cocktail reception in the first evening and a light lunch in the second day
will be offered to the participants. Depending of the funds available, some
reimbursements for the expenses could also be provided.

Bruno Settis, Gaetano Di Tommaso

Prof. Jenny Andersson (CEE, Sciences Po)
Prof. Frédéric Attal (Université de Valenciennes)
Prof. Michele Battini (University of Pisa)
Prof. Mario Del Pero (CHSP, Sciences Po)
Prof. Anders Stephanson (LSE-Columbia University)

Giles Scott-Smith (University of Leiden)

Please send proposals and any enquiries to by May 31,

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