134 Winning Hearts and Minds in the Cold War: Comparative Perspectives on State Socialist Transnational Practices

Thursday, July 9, 2015: 9:00 AM-10:45 AM
H201 (28 rue des Saints-Pères)
This panel explores the importance of transnational practices for state socialist societies during the Cold War, by examining the importance of consumption preferences and their monitoring for communist regimes, the involvement in the Third World through women's organizations, and the investment in cultural exchange programs abroad. All of these practices were based on assumptions of a competition between West and East, creating a global interaction among ideas that were also exported in the Third World.

Martin Dimitrov explains why institutions for assessing popular consumption preferences were essential for the long-term survival of state-socialist regimes. This paper is based on archival documents from pre-1989 Bulgaria and post-1949 China, supplemented by East German and Soviet materials and interviews conducted in Bulgaria, Germany, China, and Cuba.

Using archival and oral history evidence, Kristen Ghodsee argues that state socialist women’s organizations were key actors during the U.N. Decade for Women (1975-1985). By mobilizing women from the developing world, women from the Eastern Bloc may have instigated Cold War competition over which economic system could provide more equality to women.

Theodora Dragostinova explores the ideological competition between East and West through the prism of cultural exchange practices of the 1970s when the development of cultural globalization challenged the rigidity of the Cold War. Examining communist Bulgaria's cultural activities in the 'capitalist West,' this paper emphasizes changing perceptions of East and West in the post-Helsinki world.

Nadège Ragaru
Discussant :
Nadège Ragaru
Nationalization of Soviet Achievements: Russian Pro-Governmental Youth Fora
Anna Schwenck, Humboldt University Berlin & Scuole Normale Superiore, Florence
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