CfP: Media and the Cold War

In recent years, the major economic, political, and cultural changes in societies during the last two decades of the Cold War have come into greater focus for academics from a variety of disciplines. This conference examines the role of the media during the period from the Helsinki Conference in 1975 until the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989-91. It explores the engagement of various forms of media with the Cold War on a global scale, including alternative media representations, performances, and cultures during this time.

The conference also seeks to analyze media actors and networks, evolving theories about the social responsibility of media, as well as narrative and visual frames on a local and (trans-) national level. The purpose is to illuminate the complex interrelations between the media—both as a dependent and independent variable—and competing political, economic and cultural elites, as well as explain the role of grassroots politics in the formation of public opinion.

Topics include, but are not limited to the following:

  • print media and literary representations of the Cold War and international relations
  • audio-visual depictions (e.g., television, movies, documentaries, animated films, cartoons)
  • Cold War imagery, iconography, and symbolism
  • (pop-)cultural and artistic manifestations
  • narrative frames, discourses, and language
  • political communication
  • journalism, media structures, and organizations
  • foreign news coverage and framing
  • alternative media and popular culture
  • official and grassroots media strategies
  • public/cultural diplomacy
  • freedom of speech

The conference will feature workshops with leading media scholars and historians as well as panel discussions comprising trans-/interdisciplinary approaches, with the goal of generating fresh perspectives that will promote future scholarly teamwork across national, cultural, and regional borders.

Applications are especially encouraged from postgraduate students, early-stage researchers (Ph.D.-students), postdocs, and young scholars from all disciplinary and national backgrounds.

Conference website:

Rolf Werenskjold, Volda University College
Henrik G. Bastiansen, Volda University College
Martin Klimke, New York University Abu Dhabi

Faculty of Media and Journalism,
Volda University College, Norway

November 20-21, 2014


Daniel C. Hallin, UC San Diego:
“Media Systems and the Cold War, 1975-1991”

Odd Arne Westad, London School of Economics (LSE):
“Historiographical Approaches to the Cold War of the 1970/80s”

Successful applicants will be provided with an allowance that should cover all necessary expenses during the conference. The organizers will also provide a limited travel grant.

The conference language will be English.

Extended Deadline for Applications and Abstracts:

March 15, 2014

The conference will focus on the discussion of 5.000–6.000-word, pre-circulated papers (due October 1, 2014).

Please upload your application materials here, which should include

  • paper proposal (500-1,000 words, in English)
  • a brief CV / biographical statement

Selections will be made by: April 15, 2014.

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