The Cold War Then and Now: Theories and Legacies

deadline for submissions: 
March 31, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Goldsmiths, University of London

In his seminal study No Accident, Comrade (2011),Steven Belletto draws a distinction between fictions which are about the Cold War and fictions that are of the Cold War. What is meant by the former is clear enough: these are fictions which are written or set during the Cold War period and which engage thematically with it. The latter, however, is a more fluid category whose implications can be theorized further. Papers in this stream will seek to do precisely this – namely, to think through what this ‘of’ might signal in relation to literature, film, art, politics, news reporting, or society more broadly. What kind of preoccupations, narratives, theories, or ideologies might be described as being of the Cold War? And how do these inform the present? Does the end of the Cold War mark the end of what might be thought of as Cold War attitudes? Questions of individual freedom and of state control, of being spied on or of being paranoid are, for example, as pertinent to the Cold War era as they are to today’s digital societies, as the Edward Snowden revelations have shown. Similarly, campaigns of large-scale disinformation continue apace, as does the open-ended proliferation of nuclear warheads. To what extent, then, does our own era mark either a continuation or transformation of Cold War attitudes, and how might we theorize these? What theoretical weapons from the Cold War era proper might we appropriate for our own historical-intellectual juncture and to what end?

Papers can address any of the following topics:

  • Algorithmic Culture

  • The Cold War ‘Spirit’

  • Legacies of the Cold War

  • Cultures of Prevention

  • Nuclear Weapons

  • Digital Technologies

  • Data Harvesting

  • Discourses of the End

  • Edward Snowden / Wikileaks / Transparency

  • Surveillance / Subjectification

  • Societies of Control

  • Disinformation

  • Game Theory

  • Conspiracy Narratives

  • Propaganda / Ideology


Abstracts (250 words) for 20-minute papers to be submitted by March 31 to

NB: 'The Cold War Then and Now: Theories and Legacies' will be hosted at the 2019 London Conference in Critical Thought, which will take place on July 5 & 6 at Goldsmiths, University of London.

For a full list of the streams which will be hosted alongside 'The Cold War Then and Now', please visit the website  


Any inquries about The London Conference in Critical Thought or about any of the other streams to be sent to  

A list of all the streams (11 in total) and a full CFP can be found on the conference website: 


Abtracts (250 words) for 20-minute papers should be submitted by March 31 to