Transnational Exchanges between the Nordic Left and the Soviet bloc: Dialogue and Impulses towards Political, Economic and Social Change during the Cold War

Aalborg University
Bent Boel (Aalborg University), Tom Junes (Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena), Marianne Rostgaard (Aalborg University)
17.03.2016 - 18.03.2016
Rostgaard, Marianne

The workshop should include contributions that deal with case studies of Nordic leftist politicians, social democrats, greens, reform communists, trade unionists, youth activists, women’s associations, peace activists and environmental activists on the one hand and representatives of the communist establishments of, on the one hand, the Soviet satellite states and the Soviet Union, on the other hand. The period of preference would constitute the late 1960s to 1989-91. The workshop objective would be to examine if the exchanges and contacts with the countries of Northern Europe (Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland) had specific consequences towards domestic reform in the communist-ruled states on the other side of the Iron Curtain.

The choice of case studies would not necessarily need to be a closely-knit coherent bloc but rather resemble a first attempt to gauge if there was a particular or a diversified Nordic influence within the broader transition taking place in Eastern Europe from the late 1960’s and onwards. The contributions can either take the form of country-to-country studies or studies of transnational networks (involving more than one country in either of the Blocs) that in the first place highlight the cross-systemic interactions during the Cold War. We welcome contributions that take their point of departure in one of the Nordic countries as well as one of the communist-ruled states in Eastern Europe. The workshop would in particular be set up to explore if and how aspects of the Nordic model were somehow transposed to or inspired reform of the political, economic or social framework of the real socialist regimes in Eastern Europe before or right after 1989. This does not exclude the effects of the Helsinki process or for example the specific relevance of 'Finlandisation' but, as these themes so far have already been studied more in-depth elsewhere, priority would be given to other angles. The outcome of the workshop in the form of a published collection of essays would constitute an original contribution to the scholarship of the Cold War, international relations, and transnational history.

Format: 8-10 participants with pre-circulated papers plus one-two invited commentators. Approx. one hour for paper presentation, comments from commentators and discussion in the group

Price: Free of charge (participants are required to pay their own travel & hotel) – participants with papers are given first priority. There will be a no-show fee of DKK 500

Outcome: Publication of an edited volume

Abstracts (max 300 words) should be uploaded via EasyChair:


Marianne Rostgaard
Aalborg University

Transnational Exchanges between the Nordic Left and the Soviet bloc: Dialogue and Impulses towards Political, Economic and Social Change during the Cold War, 17.03.2016 – 18.03.2016 Aalborg, in: Connections. A Journal for Historians and Area Specialists, 23.10.2015, <>.
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