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Divided Dreamworlds?

Divided Dreamworlds?: The Cultural Cold War in East and West

Peter Romijn
Giles Scott-Smith
Joes Segal
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  • Book Info
    Divided Dreamworlds?
    Book Description:

    While the divide between capitalism and communism, embodied in the image of the Iron Curtain, seemed to be as wide and definitive as any cultural rift, Giles Scott-Smith, Joes Segal, and Peter Romijn have compiled a selection of essays on how culture contributed to the blurring of ideological boundaries between the East and the West. This important and diverse volume presents fascinating insights into the tensions, rivalries, and occasional cooperation between the two blocs, with essays that represent the cutting edge of Cold War Studies and analyze aesthetic preferences and cultural phenomena as various as interior design in East and West Germany; the Soviet stance on genetics; US cultural diplomacy during and after the Cold War; and the role of popular music as the universal cultural ambassador.An illuminating and wide-ranging survey of interrelated collective dreams from both sides of the Iron Curtain, Divided Dreamworlds? has a place on the bookshelf of any modern historian.

    eISBN: 978-90-485-1670-4
    Subjects: Sociology, Political Science, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Peter Romijn, Giles Scott-Smith and Joes Segal
  4. Introduction Divided Dreamworlds? The Cultural Cold War in East and West
    (pp. 1-10)
    Giles Scott-Smith and Joes Segal

    The Cold War, which started in the aftermath of World War ii and ended with the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 and the subsequent dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991, was more than a confrontation of economic systems and political convictions backed with military power and technological rivalries: it was a clash between cultures and ideologies. Both the communist East and the capitalist West cultivated their interpretations of the world, including the promise of a definitive break with the human tragedies of the past and exclusive access to universal happiness, social harmony, equality and freedom...

  5. PART I Arts and Sciences Between the Blocs

    • 1 An Unofficial Cultural Ambassador Arthur Miller and the Cultural Cold War
      (pp. 13-32)
      Nathan Abrams

      Andrew Ross remarked that the Cold War was a ‘profoundly hegemonic moment’ in American history.² I have argued elsewhere that the onset of the struggle between the United States and the Soviet Union from March 1947 onwards produced an anticommunist hegemony which, in doing so, co-opted willingly the group known as the New York Intellectuals since such intellectuals were vital to its development, extension and maintenance.³ In contrast, in the following chapter I shall present a case study of an intellectual who attempted to resist this hegemony, Arthur Miller. In doing so, however, he was ultimately co-opted and rejected by...

    • 2 Biological Utopias East and West Trofim D. Lysenko and His Critics
      (pp. 33-52)
      William DeJong-Lambert

      On 7 August 1948, at the end of a week-long session of the Lenin All-Union Academy of Agricultural Sciences (vaskhnil) at the Academy of Sciences in Moscow, Trofim D. Lysenko delivered what has been described as ‘the most chilling passage in all the literature of Twentieth Century science’: ‘The Central Committee of the Party has examined my report and approved it.’¹ Lysenko was a self-styled biologist who had come to prominence in the Soviet Union as the foremost proponent of Lamarckism as a scientific explanation for evolution.² His successful campaign against genetics was initially regarded in the West as the...

    • 3 Tadeusz Kantor’s Publics Warsaw – New York
      (pp. 53-72)
      Jill Bugajski

      In April 1959 the American magazineTimepublished a photograph of Polish artist Tadeusz Kantor (April 6, 1915-December 8, 1990) posed against his 1958 abstract paintingAlalaha. This image, in its content and context, begins to reveal the construction of a political and cultural identity of non-objective Polish painters in the New York art world during the years of Nikita Khrushchev’s ‘thaw’. In this photograph, Kantor poses informally alongsideAlalaha. The painting fills the frame, nearly swallowing up the contemplative figure beneath. His brows quizzically raised and cigarette poised, the artist’s demeanour captures the nonchalance of 1950s cool. The unfitted...

    • 4 Co-Producing Cold War Culture East-West Film-Making and Cultural Diplomacy
      (pp. 73-94)
      Marsha Siefert

      Cinema has long been claimed as a producer of ‘dreamworlds’, and more than one commentator has noted the chronological coincidence between the industrialisation of the film industry and the Bolshevik Revolution.¹ Film scholars have also documented the dialogic aspects of Hollywood and Soviet Goskino film rivalry and their images of each other as reflecting the state of international relations throughout the Cold War. Hollywood offers a range of such landscapes fromRed DanubetoRed Dawn.² Soviet cinema too has its cinematic Cold War scenarios and stereotypes, such as the American journalists who engage inThe Russian Question(1947), or...

  6. PART II Modernity East and West

    • 5 The Dreamworld of New Yugoslav Culture and the Logic of Cold War Binaries
      (pp. 97-114)
      Sabina Mihelj

      ‘We are following our own path into socialism, and we will not allow anyone, neither those in the East nor those in the West, to make us stray away from this path.’¹ This statement, taken from a speech delivered by the Yugoslav president Josip Broz Tito at the plenary session of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia (lcy) in 1954 (formerly the Communist Party of Yugoslavia), encapsulates what was then the guiding ideological principle of the Yugoslav federation. It also serves as an apposite starting point for discussing the theoretical and methodological limitations of thinking about the Cold War in...

    • 6 Sounds like America Yugoslavia’s Soft Power in Eastern Europe
      (pp. 115-132)
      Dean Vuletic

      In April 1960, the Yugoslav entertainment magazineArenapublished a letter from Vanya Shevchenko, a reader in the Soviet Union. Writing that he could obtainArenain his home city of Kiev, Shevchenko complimented Yugoslavia’s cultural production, especially its films and opera singers, and expressed a desire to one day visit the country. He continued:

      I would like to write to Yugoslavs and receive letters from them about film, popular music, jazz, we could do an exchange of magazines, pictures of actors etc. Writing letters brings people closer together and reduces the distance between them. I would also like to...

    • 7 Moving Toward Utopia Soviet Housing in the Atomic Age
      (pp. 133-154)
      Christine Varga-Harris

      As the American journalist Marguerite Higgins was travelling by train from Finland to Russia in the early 1950s, a Soviet customs officer confiscated from her a copy of the seemingly innocuous magazineGood Housekeeping. The official claimed that he needed to verify with his supervisor whether she was permitted to have this publication in her possession. Higgins, however, believed, ‘What bothered him (…) were the photographs of refrigerators, shiny kitchens, and home decorations. These illustrations would make it obvious to any Russian that there are lots of things for sale in the United States that are not available to Russians.’¹...

    • 8 Cold War Modernism and Post-War German Homes An East-West Comparison
      (pp. 155-180)
      Natalie Scholz and Milena Veenis

      The stylistic dichotomy between modernism on the one hand and socialist realism on the other is a standard theme in narratives of the cultural Cold War. This narrative, encompassing the whole range of cultural productions from literature, dance and music to art, design and architecture, is itself not free from Cold War rhetorical elements. To interpret modernist culture as a free and individualist form of artistic expression in opposition to socialist realism as an essentially traditional and even national approach to culture, suggests the clear-cut logic of two opposing political systems being reflected in the propaganda uses of culture in...

    • 9 Flying Away Civil Aviation and the Dream of Freedom in East and West
      (pp. 181-198)
      Annette Vowinckel

      After the end of World War ii, civil aviation expanded very fast. Its success was partly based on technical progress achieved in the context of military aviation during the War but also on the growing need of ordinary people to travel faster, further and more comfortably. This expansion was accompanied by a radical change in collective imagination: airplanes were no longer bomb carriers but the key to potentially unlimited mobility, to long-distance travelling and materially as well as symbolically to the rise of a new jet set. Aviation brought about a new world which Walter Kirn, in his 2001 novel...

  7. PART III Post-1989 Perspectives on the Cultural Cold War

    • 10 Problematic Things East German Materials after 1989
      (pp. 201-216)
      Justinian Jampol

      In 1990, during the height of theWende, transition from the old to the new was reflected not only in the realm of lightening-paced political changes, but also, and significantly, in the world of things. In that year, East Germans disposed of 1.9 million tons, 1.2 tons per individual. This was three times the per capita rate in West Germany for the same period.¹ The next year, in 1991, Eduard Schreiber produced the documentary filmÖstliche Landschaft(Eastern Landscape), recording the experiences of a man who manages a dump in the recently deceased German Democratic Republic (gdr). In the climactic...

    • 11 (Dis)Connecting Cultures, Creating Dreamworlds Musical ‘East-West’ Diplomacy in the Cold War and the War on Terror
      (pp. 217-234)
      Harm Langenkamp

      Those who visited Washington dc, in the weeks surrounding Independence Day 2002 might have stumbled upon an ‘orientalised’ National Mall, transformed as it were into a caravanserai reminiscent of the world exhibitions of earlier times, replete with artists, actors, musicians, cooks, craftsmen, nomads and merchants flown over from what were announced as ‘Silk Road countries.’ ‘Once again the Silk Road is a living reality,’ then Secretary of State Colin Powell observed at the opening ceremony to the Silk Road Folklife Festival, a high-profile event hosted by the Smithsonian Institution. ‘Once again the nations of Central Asia are joining the nations...

  8. About the Authors
    (pp. 235-236)
  9. Index
    (pp. 237-239)