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The Cold War as Political Imagination

English title The Cold War as Political Imagination
Applicant Weichlein Siegfried
Number 149843
Funding scheme Interdisciplinary projects
Research institution Departement für Historische Wissenschaften - Zeitgeschichte Universität Freiburg
Institution of higher education University of Fribourg - FR
Main discipline General history (without pre-and early history)
Start/End 01.11.2013 - 31.10.2017
Approved amount 525'878.00
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All Disciplines (3)

Discipline
General history (without pre-and early history)
German and English languages and literature
Romance languages and literature

Keywords (8)

Spy Novels; Ritual Communication; Cold War Culture; Movies: USA, GB, USSR; Popular Culture; Urban Planning; Political Imaginary; Mass Media

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Anhand einer Analyse der Inszenierung von Gipfeltreffen, des französischen Spionageromans sowie amerikanischer und sowjetischer Filme wird der Ost-West Gegensatz während des Kalten Krieges als kulturelle Konstruktion untersucht.
Lay summary

Der Kalte Krieg nahm unterschiedliche Bereiche der Kultur nicht nur in seinen Dienst, sondern beruhte seinerseits auf kulturellen Voraussetzungen. Das Projekt fragt nach der kulturellen Konstruktion des Ost-West Gegensatzes durch die Perspektive und mit Hilfe des Konzeptes des politisch Imaginären. Das politisch Imaginäre ist jener Grundstock an Bildern, Metaphern und Narrativen, auf dem unsere Wahrnehmung und unser Verständnis des Politischen beruht. Im Projekt wird untersucht, wie der Konflikt durch bestehende kulturelle Muster geprägt wurde und wie diese daraufhin neu definiert wurden. Dieser Prozess wird in drei Subprojekten in den Blick genommen. Das Subprojekt A untersucht die kulturelle Konstruktion des Konflikts in der Diplomatie der Gipfeltreffen während des Kalten Krieges. Subprojekt B fragt nach dem politisch Imaginären des Ost-West Gegensatzes in französischen Spionageromanen. Das Subprojekt C analysiert Konfliktästhetik in amerikanischen und sowjetischen Filmen der 1950er und 1960er Jahre.

Im Sinne eines interdisziplinären Ansatzes integriert das Projekt geschichts-, literatur- sowie medienwissenschaftliche Quellen und Untersuchungsansätze. Damit leistet es einen innovativen Beitrag zur gegenwärtigen Erforschung des Kalten Kriegs aber auch für das gegenwärtige Verständnis von Konflikten in einem weiteren Sinn.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 09.10.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Blickumkehr: Differenzikonographie im Kalten Krieg
Weichlein Siegfried (2018), Blickumkehr: Differenzikonographie im Kalten Krieg, in Huhnholz Sebastian, Hausteiner Eva Marlene (ed.), Nomos, Berlin, Sonderheft 34, x.
Des Autres au service de l'espion
Bianco Morgane (2017), Des Autres au service de l'espion, in Pop-en-Stock, Héros et Vilains, n°3.
"Soft Power" in der Kulturgeschichte des Kalten Krieges
Weichlein Siegfried (2017), "Soft Power" in der Kulturgeschichte des Kalten Krieges, in Hochmuth Katharina (ed.), Metropol, Berlin, 243-256.
Antikommunismus im westdeutschen Katholizismus
Weichlein Siegfried (2017), Antikommunismus im westdeutschen Katholizismus, in Frei Norbert, Rigoll Dominik (ed.), Wallstein, Jena, 124-138.
Das letzte Kommando – The Last Detail (USA 1973) R.: Hal Ashby
Markin Alexander (2017), Das letzte Kommando – The Last Detail (USA 1973) R.: Hal Ashby, in Grob Norbert et al. (ed.), Reclam, Ditzingen, 233-239.
K. Spohr u.a. (Hrsg.): Transcending the Cold War
Kreuels Jan (2017), K. Spohr u.a. (Hrsg.): Transcending the Cold War, in HSozKult, 1.
Representation and recoding. Interdisciplinary perspectives on Cold War Cultures
Weichlein Siegfried (2017), Representation and recoding. Interdisciplinary perspectives on Cold War Cultures, in Jarausch Konrad, Ostermann Christian F., Etges Andreas (ed.), DeGruyter, Berlin, 19-66.
Apokalyptische Semantiken des Kampfes
Weichlein Siegfried (2016), Apokalyptische Semantiken des Kampfes, in Schweizerische Zeitschrift für Religions- und Kulturgeschichte/Revue Suisse d'histoire religieuse et, 110, 222-225.
David Eugster, Sibylle Marti (Hg.), Das Imaginäre des Kalten Krieges. Beiträge zu einer Kulturgeschichte des Ost-West-Konfliktes in Europa, Essen, 2015.
Bianco Morgane (2016), David Eugster, Sibylle Marti (Hg.), Das Imaginäre des Kalten Krieges. Beiträge zu einer Kulturgeschichte des Ost-West-Konfliktes in Europa, Essen, 2015., in La Revue Suisse d'Histoire, (1), p. 196-p. 198.
Amerikanskij dom užasa. Ot idillii k chorroru (Amerikanisches Haus des Schreckens: Vom Idyll zum Alptraum)
Markin Alexander (2014), Amerikanskij dom užasa. Ot idillii k chorroru (Amerikanisches Haus des Schreckens: Vom Idyll zum Alptraum), in Seance Сеанс, 53/54, 259-267.
Bezdna zvezd polna: Kosmičeskaja gonka i technologija kinematografa (Ein Abgrund, voller Sterne: Space Race und die Technologie des Kinos)
Markin Alexander (2014), Bezdna zvezd polna: Kosmičeskaja gonka i technologija kinematografa (Ein Abgrund, voller Sterne: Space Race und die Technologie des Kinos), in Seance Сеанс, 59/60, 107-113.
Vasilij Šukšins Kalina Krasnaja – Roter Hollunder (UdSSR 1974)
Markin Alexander, Vasilij Šukšins Kalina Krasnaja – Roter Hollunder (UdSSR 1974), in Petersen Christer, Schwarz Matthias, Wurm Barbara (ed.), Schüren , Berlin.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Prof. Dr. Till van Rahden, Chaire en études allemandes et européennes, Université de Montréal Canada (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Prof. Dr. Sylvia Sasse, Universität Zürich Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel
Prof. Dr. Damir Skenderovic, Universität Fribourg Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Exchange of personnel
Dr. Peter Frei, Université de Fribourg Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Exchange of personnel
Prof. Dr. Dominik Geppert, Institut für Geschichtswissenschaft Universität Bonn Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Exchange of personnel
Dr. Luc van Dongen, Université de Fribourg Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel
Prof. Alain Clavien, Université de Fribourg Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Exchange of personnel
Prof. Paul Bleton, University of Téluq Montréal Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Guest Lecture Individual talk The language of the cold war 15.11.2017 University of California, Irvine, Kalifornien, United States of America Weichlein Siegfried;
Forschungskolloquium "Gewalt – Ausdruck und staatliche Regulierungsversuche zwischen der Antike und dem 21. Jahrhundert Talk given at a conference Kulturgeschichte der Gewalt im Kalten Krieg 07.04.2017 Universität Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland Weichlein Siegfried;
Freiburger Forum für Zeitgeschichte Individual talk L’imaginaire politique. Réflexions autour de la préface de Jacques Le Goff 15.03.2017 Fribourg, Switzerland Bianco Morgane;
Risk Communication and Narratives of Risk Poster Risks of narrations... or narrations of risks 03.10.2016 Dresden, Germany Bianco Morgane;
Quatrièmes Journées Suisses d'Histoire Talk given at a conference Panel: "La Culture, productrice de sens: de l’impact des imaginaires politiques sur les représentations du Pouvoir" 09.06.2016 Lausanne, Switzerland Kreuels Jan; Weichlein Siegfried; Markin Alexander; Bianco Morgane;
Off-CIEL: Le réveil du nouveau Talk given at a conference OSS 117 : succès paralittéraire mais adaptations catastrophiques : un échec transmédiatique ? 17.04.2016 Montréal, Canada Bianco Morgane;
Freiburger Forum fur Zeitgeschichte Individual talk Cold War Summit: Kulturgeschichtliche Überlegungen zum Gipfel von Glassboro 1967 02.12.2015 Fribourg, Switzerland Kreuels Jan;
Littérature et tempo médiatique, de l’ancien au nouveau régime de la presse Talk given at a conference "Vous serez mieux informé en lisant “Espionnage“ qu’en lisant Le Monde" : le  roman d’espionnage au tempo médiatique ? 05.10.2015 Fribourg, Switzerland Bianco Morgane;
Le Visuel et le Récit - La question du point de vue Talk given at a conference Que cachent les couvertures de OSS 117 ? 20.05.2015 Neuchâtel, Switzerland Bianco Morgane;
Histoire et Méthodes quantitatives Individual talk Dispositifs narratifs et actantiels dans OSS 117: où et qui est l'ennemi? 14.04.2015 Fribourg, Switzerland Bianco Morgane;
Doktorandenoberseminar von Prof. Dr. Geppert Talk given at a conference Symbolische Kommunikation und Gipfeltreffen im Kalten Krieg 30.01.2015 Bonn, Germany Kreuels Jan;
Journée d’études « OXFORD – FRIBOURG » Talk given at a conference Autour de ce qui entoure OSS 117 : l’intérêt du paratexte dans le roman d’espionnage 16.01.2015 Fribourg, Switzerland Bianco Morgane; Hunkeler Thomas;
New Narratives of the Cold War Talk given at a conference Ritual Communication in Cold War Summits (1955 -­‐ 1975) 16.07.2014 Lausanne, Switzerland Kreuels Jan;
New Narratives of the Cold War Talk given at a conference The Cold War Family (of Men): a Different Family Narrative of the 1960s 16.07.2014 Lausanne, Switzerland Markin Alexander;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
The making of the cold war ennemy 10.10.2016 Fribourg, Switzerland
The making of the cold war enemy 15.06.2016 Zürich, Switzerland
Imaginer l'ennemi 08.06.2016 Fribourg, Switzerland
Projekt-Workshop: The Cold War as Political Imagination 11.06.2015 Fribourg, Switzerland
Kulturgeschichte des Kalten Krieges 11.05.2015 Zürich, Switzerland
Workshop: The Cold War as Political Imagination 14.05.2014 Fribourg, Switzerland

Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Talks/events/exhibitions The Making of the Cold War Enemy Western Switzerland German-speaking Switzerland 2016
Other activities The Cold War as Political Imagination German-speaking Switzerland Italian-speaking Switzerland Western Switzerland International Rhaeto-Romanic Switzerland 2014

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
165173 OSS 117, the Political Imaginary of the Cold War in the French Popular Spy Novel 01.01.2016 Doc.Mobility

Abstract

The overall purpose of this project is to study Cold War culture from the perspective of the political imaginary. Conflicts not only use culture, they are themselves culturally constructed, framed and reframed. What are commonly referred to as the “Eastern and the Western blocs” did not just employ cultural means to political ends; they were themselves profoundly shaped by the repertoire of cultural forms which governed the antagonism of the Cold War. This project moves from the idea of a “cultural Cold War” to that of “Cold War culture”, which entails a move from a predominantly instrumental understanding of culture to an active one, focusing on culture as a sphere of production of meaning. Consequently, instead of accepting the Cold War as an explanans - mainly emphasizing the uses of culture through propaganda - this project understands the Cold War as an explanandum, that is, as a process and an object of cultural construction. In this project, Cold War culture is understood through the concept of the “political imaginary”. The political imaginary is a repository of images, metaphors, narratives, notions and ideas that inform and frame our perception and understanding of the political. Exploring the interdependence between forms of cultural expression and the political is an endeavor that has to move beyond the boundaries of established academic disciplines. On the one hand, the project aims at revealing the processes through which existing cultural figures have conditioned the content of political action. At the same time the project traces the redefinition of these figures which was triggered by their shaping of the political conflict. Combining the expertise of historical, literary and media studies, the project analyzes the interweaving threads of meaning production that constituted the political imaginary of the Cold War. “West” and “East” were essentially shortcuts for conflicting cold war modernities, spelled out by the political actors in the United States and the USSR. Methodologically at the core of this project is a change from representation to re-imagination of the Cold War antagonism. Cold War culture not only narrated or visualized political threats but eventually became a platform for criticism and re-imagination of the Cold War itself. Binary concepts of the Cold War, predominant in the 1950s - such as East/West, Good/Evil or Modern/Traditional - were replaced during what is referred to as the “long 1960s” by more hybrid and ambiguous imaginaries. These were characterized by self reflexivity and feedback mechanisms, effectively underpinning a reciprocal model of communication in Cold War culture. The guiding hypothesis of this project is that, in this crucial period, cultural constructions of an external threat were gradually translocated into a threat within society: “we vs. them” was culturally transformed into “we vs. us”. Accordingly, the long 1960s presented a number of new and different Cold War cultures. Cultural analysis of the political imaginaries of these cultures reveals that the 1960s constitute a major paradigm shift, since binary imaginations, once deconstructed, could not then be reemployed when politics decided to do so, in what is sometimes called the “second Cold War” after 1979.Carrying out cultural analysis of the Cold War entails tracing these processes of growing reflexivity, feedback mechanisms, ambiguity and internalization throughout Cold War cultures: in the patterns and plots of popular culture, and also in the cultural coding of diplomacy. The project enables junior scholars to develop an interdisciplinary perspective which corresponds to the contemporary standards of the international community of scholars.
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