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Cold Warriors

The Cultural Avant-Garde of the Bipolar Struggle

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Published on Wednesday, April 22, 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 self-legitimation.

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.

Submission guidelines

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.

Please send proposals and any enquiries to chsp.cw2015@gmail.com

by May 31, 2015

Organizing committee

  • Bruno Settis,
  • Gaetano Di Tommaso

Scientific committee

  • 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)

Keynote speaker

  • Giles Scott-Smith (University of Leiden)


  • Sciences Po
    Paris, France (75)


  • Sunday, May 31, 2015


  • cold war, cultural struggle, bloc, relationship, intellectual power, political power, bipolarism


  • Bruno Settis
    courriel : chsp [dot] cw2015 [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Gaetano Di Tommaso
    courriel : chsp [dot] cw2015 [at] gmail [dot] com

Information source

  • Carole Gautier
    courriel : carole [dot] gautier [at] sciencespo [dot] fr


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Cold Warriors », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Wednesday, April 22, 2015, https://doi.org/10.58079/sh6

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