Late Cold War Tandems: Solidarities and Anxieties of the 1980s

Late Cold War Tandems: Solidarities and Anxieties of the 1980s

University of Sheffield / Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin / Universiteit Utrecht
University of Sheffield
United Kingdom
Vom - Bis
04.11.2016 - 05.11.2016
Andrew Tompkins

The purpose of this workshop is to explore the possibilities of 'tandem history' (Kate Brown) as a transnational approach in new research on the final decade of the Cold War. The period was marked not only by the renewal of superpower tensions, but also by new concerns that poorly fit the Cold War framework and which have remained with us since the collapse of the binary order.

We will thus examine some of the key issues of the 1980s, such as how state institutions and civil society actors on both sides of the 'Iron Curtain' addressed emerging anxieties linked to environmental devastation and HIV/AIDS. The decade was also shaped by concerns about security inherited from earlier stages of the Cold War as well as practices of secrecy that would themselves leave a legacy after its end. Nevertheless, protest movements for peace, democratisation, and international solidarity all flourished in parallel, extending not only to different parts of Europe, but across the East-West and North-South divides both within and beyond Europe's borders.

Each workshop panel is structured to include two 'tandem partners' addressing analogous or entangled developments in different blocs, or which cut across the systemic divide. We hereby seek not to reify East-West divisions or reinforce a Eurocentric perspective, but rather to test and challenge these conventional boundaries and the binaries associated with them.


Friday, 4th November 2016

4:00 pm: Introduction
Andrew Tompkins (University of Sheffield)
Jan Hansen (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)
Phillip Wagner (Universität Bielefeld)

4:15–5:30 pm: Panel I – Environmental Aftermaths of the Cold War
Marc Elie (CNRS)
‘Katastroika – How Disasters Undermined Soviet Power (1986-1991)’
Karena Kalmbach (Technische Universiteit Eindhoven)
‘The Accident that Happened in a Different World: Chernobyl Narratives in Western Europe’

5:30–6:00 pm: Break

6:00–7:00 pm: Keynote lecture and discussion
(The Diamond, Lecture Theatre 2)
Kate Brown (University of Maryland)
‘Seeing Double: Assessing Chernobyl Health Effects from Near and Afar’

Saturday, 5th November 2016

8:30–9:45 am: Panel II – Cultures of Secrecy
Eleni Braat (Universiteit Utrecht)
‘Secrecy as an Institution: Organizational Culture within the Dutch Security Service, 1950s–1990s’
Douglas Selvage (Bundesbeauftragte für Stasi-Unterlagen)
‘The Danger of Surprise – The East European Security Services and the “Second Cold War”, 1981-1987’

9:45–10:00 am: Coffee break

10:00–11:15 am: Panel III – Negotiating Democracy? Peace Activism in the 1980s
Eirini Karamouzi (University of Sheffield)
‘Protest as Democratic Practice: Antinuclear Mobilisation in Greece’
Ned Richardson-Little (University of Exeter)
‘Human Rights, Peace, and Democratization in East Germany’

11:15–11:30 am: Break

11:30 am–12:45 pm: Panel IV – North and South in East and West
Christian Helm (Leibniz Universität Hannover)
‘“Nicaragua must survive!” Solidarity with the Sandinista Revolution in Germany’
Kim Christiaens (Antwerp University/Leuven University)
‘Inspired by the East? Third World Solidarity Movements, Peace Activism, and East European Dissent during the 1980s’

12:45–1:30 pm: Lunch

1:30–2:45 pm: Panel V – Medicine at the Margins
Hannah Kershaw (University of Manchester)
‘Constructing Childhoods and Locating Risks: Depictions of HIV-Positive Identities in British Children’s Media, 1983-1997’
Henning Tümmers (Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen)
‘AIDS and AIDS Prevention in the Two Germanys’

2:45–3:00 pm: Break

3:00–4:00 pm: Concluding commentary and general discussion
Bernd Greiner (Berlin Center for Cold War Studies)


Andrew Tompkins

Jessop West 2.12, 1 Upper Hanover Street
Sheffield, S3 7RA, United Kingdom
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