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From Below and In Between – Narrating and Practicing the Cold War in South East Europe

01.06.2017 - 02.06.2017

International Workshop
Venue: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Mohrenstr. 40/41, 10117 Berlin

The Cold War as a global geopolitical order after World War II had a profound impact on the comparatively small area of South East Europe. Ideological fault lines divided various countries from one another and resulted in an exceptionally fragmented political landscape: Rumania und Bulgaria joined the Warsaw Pact under Soviet influence, Greece and Turkey became members of the NATO, and Yugoslavia held a leading position in the Non-Aligned movement. Furthermore, Albania broke bonds with the Soviet Union in 1962 and became increasingly isolated. Not only in a Cold War-context, South East Europe is often seen as a periphery to the global centers. The workshop From Below and In Between – Narrating and Practicing the Cold War in South East Europe will challenge this perspective. Instead, we will approach the region as a center of ideological fractions during the Cold War, therefore treating it as a “burning glass” of geopolitical orders.

The workshop not only intends to make a contribution to the regional history during this period but, at the same time, to further general insights on the Cold War. We especially welcome local and actor-centered contributions as well as comparative approaches, which contrast their respective topic with cases from other regions. To this end, we encourage the presentation of research which addresses one of the following overarching question sets:

  • How did various actors on various levels participate in the process of establishing the Cold War as a frame of reference in South East Europe? How did referring to the Cold War influence their perceptions and expectations? Was the Cold War order consciously mobilized in order to pursue their interests and agendas?
  • Which competing local and regional narratives of world order existed? How did such alternatives challenge Cold War patterns? Who were the representatives of such alternative views and what was their relation to official discourses in South East Europe?
  • How did transnational projects and globally circulating ideas take shape in South East Europe? Did they correspond with regional conditions and developments?
  • Janis Nalbadidacis (Chair for South East European History, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)
  • Matthias Thaden (Chair for the History of Western Europe and Transatlantic Relations, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)

Supported by: Humboldt University of Berlin, Southeast Europe Association (Südosteuropa-Gesellschaft – SOG), Center for Modern Greece (Centrum Modernes Griechenland – CeMoG), Berlin Center for Cold War Studies.