Cold War and Environmental Sciences: Circulations, exchanges and cooperation between the USSR and the West, 1950s-1990s

Cold War and Environmental Sciences: Circulations, exchanges and cooperation between the USSR and the West, 1950s-1990s

University of Birmingham, AHRC Project "Soviet Climate Science and its intellectual legacies"
Royal Geographical Society (with the British Institute of Geographers)
United Kingdom
Vom - Bis
18.12.2018 -
Katja Doose

International scientific collaboration during the Cold War has attracted increased attention during the last decade not least for its ability to further insight into the evident contradictory trends of knowledge production and secrecy, cooperation and conflict. At the same time, much of the analysis has been on research activities in Western settings, or else from a Western perspective.

Inspired in part by the 1972 US-USSR Agreement on Cooperation in the Field of Environmental Protection, this workshop seeks to explore the specifics of East-West collaboration in the broad area of the environmental sciences moving beyond the high-level political discussions between superpowers in order to explore the perspectives of intergovernmental initiatives, sub-national scientific groupings, as well as individual scientists from both sides of the ideological divide. Underlining the contradictions noted above, many of those sciences proving effective in the advancement of international scientific cooperation were simultaneously of great applied significance for military and defence-related activities.

The following questions are at the centre of our interest and focus:

- How was East-West collaboration aimed at increasing our understanding of issues such as climate change, seismology, or pollution and its impact on health, conceived, promoted and advanced by the two sides of the ideological divide?
- Linked to this, how effective were expansive international agendas such as sustainable development in binding together the activities of both East and West?
- How balanced were these collaborations, and what economic, geopolitical or national security concerns impacted the production of this specific knowledge?
- To what extent did intellectual and scientific exchange occur outside of largescale international initiatives?
- What happened to the knowledge that was gained within the cooperation/collaborative initiatives? And, to what extent did it find its place in policies or institutional agendas on either side of the Iron Curtain?
- How was scientific collaboration able to function during times of heightened geopolitical uncertainty and defence-related secrecy?
- What processes of historical change can we detect in the way these scientific collaborations between the East and the West developed over the decades leading to the end of the Cold War?

We welcome contributions from all disciplinary areas and are particularly interested in papers based on archival research and/or interview material and data. Please send your abstract (max. 500 words) for a 20-minute presentation and a short biographical overview (max. 100 words) to Katja Doose at: no later than August 15, 2018.

We have funds available to cover travel and accommodation for a limited number of participants. Please indicate in your email if you are interested in being considered for these funds.

The workshop is funded by the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council and forms part of the AHRC- funded project ‘Soviet climate science and its intellectual legacies’ (AH/P004431/1),



Katja Doose

University of Birmingham
Edgbaston B15 2TT

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