Cold War Legacy in Europe: Commemoration, Adaptation, and Exhibition

Workshop in Udine, Italy
13-15 June 2024

Jointly organized by the University of Udine,
Cold War Studies/Harvard University, and Friuli Storia

This workshop will bring together scholars from various countries to investigate practices of commemoration, adaptation, and exhibition of the material heritage of the Cold War with a particular but not exclusive focus on European border regions (i.e., regions along the dividing line between East and West from the mid-1940s through the early 1990s).

The workshop builds on the international workshop on “Cold War Borders and Borderlands in Europe and Northeast Asia, 1944-1991” that was held in Udine and Gorizia in March 2023. The aim of this series of workshops is to set up an international and multidisciplinary network of scholars exploring the dynamics of borderlands during the Cold War in Europe and Northeast Asia.

The Cold War had profound effects in Europe for more than four decades, including the militarized division of the continent.  Hence, it is not surprising that extensive efforts have been made in the post-Cold War era to memorialize the impact of the Cold War and to overcome painful legacies.  More concretely, governments and non-governmental organizations have contended with the material, environmental, and psychological legacies of the Cold War.

Possible themes for contributions include but are not restricted to:

  • Cleanup, renovation, and adaptation of military structures and bunkers after the end of the Cold War
  • Cold War museums and exhibitions
  • Environmental legacy of the Cold War
  • Role of state actors, private individual and associations in the management of the Cold War heritage
  • Relations between material legacies, memory and identity in Western, Central and Eastern Europe
  • Cold war sites and local communities
  • Cold War sites as tourist destinations
  • Shifting in heritage consumption and preservation practice over time

Scholars wishing to take part should submit a proposal of 300-500 words and a CV using the online form by 15 October 2023. Decisions about applicants chosen for the workshop will be announced within seven weeks of the submission deadline for proposals.

Those chosen to take part in the workshop will be asked to submit a 3,000-word outline by 15 May 2024, to offer a 10-minute presentation at the workshop, and to play an active role in the discussion. At a follow-on conference in the first half of 2025, scholars will turn their outlines into full-length papers, which will then undergo external review.  A selection of the final papers will eventually be published in a volume of collected essays or in a special issue of an academic journal after undergoing peer review.

We welcome proposals from researchers who are in the early stages of their research on these topics.  In such cases, the proposal should indicate the aim of the research, the state of the art, the methodology to be adopted, and the expected results. Researchers with a comparative approach are also greatly welcomed. The workshop will be organized around thematic panels.

The workshop will be held in Udine, Italy. Udine is served by a regional airport, Trieste Ronchi dei Legionari, which is 40 minutes from the city by car or train.  The airport has direct flights to London Stansted, Frankfurt and Munich. Udine is also about 90 minutes from Venice’s Marco Polo airport by car or train.

Accommodation and subsistence will be provided. Travel grants will be available for participants upon request and subject to budget availability.

The advisory board of the workshop is co-chaired by Tommaso Piffer and Mark Kramer and includes Nadia Boyadjieva, Hope Harrison, Patrick Karlsen, Paweł Machcewicz, Christian Ostermann, Molly Pucci, David Reynolds, Peter Ruggenthaler

For further information: Tommaso Piffer and Mark Kramer

Jointly organised by: