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Mershon Center for International Security Studies

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Spring Conference
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Iron Curtain Crossings: Eastern Europe and the Global Cold War
From Friday, March 04, 2016 -  09:00am
To Saturday, March 05, 2016 - 02:00pm
Mershon Center for International Security Studies
1501 Neil Ave | Room 120 Columbus, OH, 43201

Register here for keynote by Padraic Kenney

Download conference poster (pdf)

Download conference program (pdf)

Theodora Dragostinova

Organizers:  Theodora Dragostinova (The Ohio State University) and Malgorzata Fidelis (University of Illinois-Chicago)

In recent years, scholars have demonstrated that the Cold War was not simply a bipolar political confrontation between the communist East and the capitalist West. Rather, there was a variety of multipolar interactions among the First, Second, and Third Worlds. Historians of eastern Europe have been at the forefront of redefining the nature of these interactions.

First, the countries of eastern Europe, in contrast to the conventional notion of their status as passive members of the “Soviet bloc,” showed an important degree of divergence and independence from the Soviet Union by engaging in extensive trans-border contact with the West, whether through travel, tourism, popular culture, artistic exchange, or consumer choices.

Second, many actors in the Second World, such as economists, scientists, engineers, journalists, and intellectuals, were also actively involved in the Third World, through economic, technical, cultural, and other engagements in the post-colonial context.

This involvement created lasting alliances and alternative notions of modernity between eastern Europe and other parts of the world. The goal of this workshop is to investigate the variety of ways in which eastern Europe emerged as an important international player, by promoting its own ideas of modernity, progress, humanism, culture, and everyday life.  

Malgorzata Fidelis

This workshop will bring together a number of scholars to debate the meaning of the global Cold War as it unfolded in diverse settings between eastern Europe and the outside world.

The participants will discuss possibilities of formulating theoretical frameworks to challenge both the notion of Soviet “satellites” and the idea of “nation-states” as the dominant paradigms in studying eastern Europe. Instead, we are interested in the potential of transnational and new comparative methodologies as frameworks of analyzing eastern Europe and its global reach from a historical perspective.

This event is co-sponsored by the Department of History, Center for Slavic and East European Studies, and Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Culture's Paisii Fund at The Ohio State University.

Friday, March 4

9-9:30 a.m. -- Breakfast

9:30-9:45 a.m. -- Opening remarks, Theodora Dragostinova (The Ohio State University) and Malgorzata Fidelis (University of Illinois-Chicago)

9:45-11:15 a.m. -- Session 1

Knowledge and memory in a transnational context 

Panel Chair: Nicholas Breyfogle (The Ohio State University)

11:15-11:30 a.m. -- Coffee break

11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. -- Session 2

The enduring legacies of displacement

Panel Chair: David Hoffmann (The Ohio State University)

12:30-2 p.m. -- Lunch break

2-3:30 p.m. -- Keynote lecture

  • Padraic Kenney (Indiana University): Global Figures, Staying in Place: Situating Communist Eastern Europe in the World Without the Transnational

3:30-4 p.m. -- Coffee break

4-5 p.m. -- Session 3

The global 1968

Panel Chair: Angela Brintlinger (The Ohio State University)

5-6 p.m. -- Free time

6:30 p.m. -- Dinner

Saturday, March 5

9-9:30 a.m. -- Breakfast

9:30-11 a.m. -- Session 4

State socialism on the global stage

Panel Chair: Danielle Fosler-Lussier (The Ohio State University)

11-11:15 a.m. -- Coffee break

11:15 a.m.-12:45 p.m. -- Session 5 

New approaches to old paradigms

Panel Chair: Yana Hashamova (The Ohio State University)

12:45-1 p.m. -- Coffee break

1-2 p.m. -- Final roundtable discussion over lunch

2 p.m. -- Departure from Columbus



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