[spectre] CFP: Cold War, Warm Friendships (Cluj-Napoca, 17-18 Oct 24)

Andreas Broeckmann LEU andreas.broeckmann at leuphana.de
Sun Jan 28 10:30:18 CET 2024

From: Karolina Łabowicz-Dymanus, Institute of Art, Polish Academy of 
Date: Jan 27, 2024
Subject: CFP: Cold War, Warm Friendships (Cluj-Napoca, 17-18 Oct 24)

Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania, Oct 17–18, 2024
Deadline: Apr 15, 2024

Cold War, Warm Friendships: Politics and Culture in The Cold War 
Editions of the World Festival of Youth and Students.

During the Cold War, both blocs championed art, popular culture, 
sporting competitions, and major exhibitions and festivals for 
propaganda purposes shedding light on the strategic deployment of 
cultural diplomacy in a time of crisis. György Péteri's conception of 
the “Nylon Curtain” provides a more accurate image than the “Iron 
Curtain,” conveying a scenario in which both the United States and 
communist countries prioritized visibility on the other side. This 
curtain-like transparency enabled the USA to promote its lifestyle and 
values, thus exposing socialist societies to the capitalist paradigm. 
Conversely, isolation was not advantageous for the “Eastern Bloc” 
countries, as it signified international failure and consequent 

Pia Koivunen (2022) provides a comprehensive analysis of the World Youth 
Festivals during the Cold War, particularly focusing on their role in 
Soviet cultural diplomacy. Koivunen's study reveals that the Soviet 
Union successfully utilized the World Festival of Youth and Students for 
its cultural diplomacy efforts from the late Stalinism period through 
the early Khrushchev era. She discusses the evolution of these youth 
gatherings into a Soviet cultural product, beginning with the first 
festival in Prague in 1947. Importantly, Koivunen re-evaluates the role 
and agency of young people in these events. She argues that the World 
Youth Festivals were not merely orchestrated rallies by Kremlin 
bureaucrats. Instead, they became significant spaces for transnational 
encounters among young people. These festivals provided opportunities 
for youth to find ways to overcome the various restrictions and 
boundaries imposed by the Cold War world. Through detailed analysis of 
grass-roots interactions, she suggests that individuals had more 
opportunities for transnational contacts than previously acknowledged by 

The forthcoming conference poses a question about a nuanced view of the 
World Youth Festivals, highlighting their complexity and significance as 
tools of Soviet cultural diplomacy and as platforms for youth 
interaction and exchange during the Cold War. We want to examine the 
relationships not so much between the two blocs, but we are particularly 
interested in cultural diplomacy, cultural exchanges and individual 
relationships and the complexity of these large-scale events and their 
political, cultural, artistic and social implications within the 
State-Socialist World and on the background of Cold War propaganda.

Possible paper topics include, but are not limited to:
- Politics and Parades: Youth, Festivals, and Communist Propaganda.
- Peeping through the Nylon Curtain: Propaganda Visibility
- “Body and Nation”: Communist Festivals, Youth, Education, Peace and Sports
- Merging Rituals. Religious versus Soviet-Style Ceremonies
- International Solidarity and Metaphors of the Anti-Colonial Rule 
within Propaganda
- Economic and Civil Costs of the Youth Festivals
- Cultural Exchanges as Facilitators of Future Economic and Political 
- The Festivals: Global audience and Exoticization
- Activism and Feminism in Youth Festival Propaganda

To submit a proposal for a 20-minute contribution, please send an 
abstract of no more than 300 words and a short bio of up to 100 words in 
a single file to the organizers Andrada Fătu-Tutoveanu 
(andrada.pintilescu at ubbcluj.ro) and Karolina Łabowicz-Dymanus 
(karolinalabowiczdymanus at gmail.com) by 15 April 2024. Selected 
applicants will be notified by 10 May 2024. The working language of the 
workshop will be English. For any inquiries, feel free to contact 

Reference / Quellennachweis:
CFP: Cold War, Warm Friendships (Cluj-Napoca, 17-18 Oct 24). In: 
ArtHist.net, Jan 27, 2024. <https://arthist.net/archive/41086>.

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