Roundtable - H-Diplo Roundtable XXII-50 on Teaching the Cold War in International Relations

Elizaveta Gaufman, Christina Cliff, Max Z. Margulies, Deepak Nair, Yuval Weber

    Research output: Other contribution


    In Russia, you can still spot small square concrete silo heads around cities – they serve as ventilation shafts for bomb shelters built across the Soviet Union before and after the Second World War. If you went to school in Russia in the 1990s, not to mention the Soviet Union in the 1950s or 60s, you would still have to study a special subject, OBZh[1] that would include memorizing the algorithm of your actions in case there was a nuclear[2] or poison-gas attack. Schoolchildren from the other side of the pond might remember school-issued dog tags to identify bodies after a nuclear attack, as Max Margulies writes below, or “duck and cover” cartoons which have now been replaced with active shooter drills. If “duck and cover” is too distant of an example, check out a Late Night Show segment about Russian hackers[3] dressed in fur hats or Russian President Vladimir Putin’s latest comments at the 2021 St. Petersburg Economic Forum.[4] Deepak Nair brings out an especially important perspective from the Global South, showing that it was not only a place where the superpowers sublimated their militarist ambitions, but was also an equally important ideological arena. Moreover, a Global South perspective on the Cold War highlights a different timeline. After all, Nair argues, for the Third World, there was no beginning of the Cold War in 1945 but, rather, a transmutation of late European colonialism “through slightly different means.”[14] This perspective is crucial, especially given the documented problem of Eurocentrism in IR as a discipline[15] and a specific U.S. bias in the study of security – even when international security is taught outside of the United States.[16]
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationOnline
    Publication statusPublished - 2021

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