18 February 2009
"Cold War Interactions Reconsidered"
The 20th anniversary of the collapse of the Berlin Wall provides an ideal opportunity to look back at the Cold War era and reassess it from a modern day perspective. Two decades after the Cold War was said to have ended, the concept of Cold War has once again reappeared in the rhetoric of world politics. Therefore, one cannot argue that the Cold War was merely a process of the past with minor relevance to the present.
The 9th Aleksanteri Conference "Cold War Interactions Reconsidered," will be hosted by the Aleksanteri Institute and will take place at the University of Helsinki on 29-31 October 2009.
Aims of the Conference:
Traditional research on the Cold War has focused on conflicts and rivalries, highlighting state agents and diplomatic history. The 9th Aleksanteri Conference aims to challenge traditional analyses by looking at new ways to view and conceptualize the international and transnational histories of the Cold War era. The conference intends to place particular emphasis on Europe and the former Socialist countries, as well as smaller states, non-state actors and multilevel approaches. Leaving East-West bipolarity and superpower confrontations to one side, the conference will focus on interactions that took place despite the existence of the Iron Curtain. Along with great powers, individuals and their various interactions have helped form the course of history.
The conference wishes to promote critical self-evaluation and a theoretical discussion on disciplines that are not obviously connected with traditional Cold War studies. We encourage scholars to evaluate the current state of area studies and to discuss how the Cold War influenced and perhaps still influences our thinking, identities, communication and culture. The conference will also encourage discussion on the manifold ways of coming to terms with the past.
The conference will emphasize a multidisciplinary approach in the belief that this will greatly enrich the discussion and bring forth new interpretations. Besides historians, we hope to gather a broad array of scholars from the social and political sciences, cultural studies, the arts and humanities, law and economics. The conference will cover the whole of the Cold War period as well as the post-Cold War period up to the present day.
Themes of the conference:
• Interactions across Boundaries. Cultural, economic and political exchanges, contacts and cooperation; know-how and technology transfers.
• Behind the Scenes and Beyond the State. Individuals and networks, non-governmental and non-state agents.
• The Cold War’s Effects. The impact of the Cold War and transnational interactions on ideology, culture, civil society; communication and identity, everyday life and consumption; and perceptions of the "other".
• The Cold War and the Present. Politics of the past; Vergangenheitsbewaltigung, (n)ostalgia.
• Reconsidering the Cold War. Critical reconceptualization and periodization; new approaches, theories and methodologies. The Cold War as a resource and/or a limitation.
Nadia Arbatova, Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russia
Jessica Gienow-Hecht, Goethe-University Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Serguei Oushakine, Princeton University, USA
Yale Richmond, USA
Jadwiga Staniszkis, University of Warsaw, Poland
Jeremi Suri, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA
Conference Schedule and Deadlines:
-Proposals for panels (approx. 500 words): March 15, 2009
-Abstracts for individual papers (approx. 300 words): March 15, 2009
-Notification of acceptance: April 30, 2009
-Conference: October 29—31, 2009
Please submit all the above information through the forms on the conference website:
In addition, you will find further practical information on submissions, travel and accommodation on the website.
For further assistance, please contact the Conference Coordinator, Riikka Nisonen-Trnka, or the Conference Secretary, Eeva Korteniemi, at: or visit the conference homepage at:
The Aleksanteri Conference is an annual, multidisciplinary, international conference organized by the Aleksanteri Institute, Finnish Center for Russian and Eastern European Studies, affiliated with the University of Helsinki. Aleksanteri Conferences have attracted broad interest among researchers and policy-makers in a wide variety of disciplines, both in Finland and abroad, interested in the development of post-socialist countries.