Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2019
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Transcending the Cold War: Cultural and Scholarly Relations between Hungary and the U.S. (1960-1989)

My research focuses on cultural and scholarly relations between communist Hungary and the U.S. from 1960 to 1989. I investigate how an opening to the West came about amid the Cold War and what this process meant for those involved. How did transnational ties emerge in a divided world? As I look for explanations, my research goes against the conventional narrative on the Cold War that emphasizes East-West division and rivalry, and aims to examine instead forms of interaction, cooperation, and mutual integration that bridge across the Iron Curtain. I will examine scholarship exchanges and academic networks, international conferences, literary residencies and translations, education and language programs, and the representations of such interactions in travelogues and the press. The goal of my inquiry is to assess the entanglement of the geopolitical and transnational logics within such Cold War encounters – and to explicate their impact. I argue that the period after 1960 saw the emergence of transnational practices for institutional and personal cooperation that were rooted in but ultimately transformed the strict ideological and bureaucratic constrains of the Cold War. The conception and implementation, but most importantly, the experience, reception, and impact of these cross-systemic relations increasingly escaped government control. State officials on both sides wanted to use scholarly and artistic exchanges as Cold War weapons while the scholars and artists themselves used the Cold War as a weapon for professional development and institution building. My research will also look at the legacy of transnational relations and networks into the present. I will examine how they survived the bounded chronology of the Cold War through institutional structures, cultural or scholarly artefacts, and personal memories – and how they are threatened by a new geopolitical shift today.