Cold War Epistemics, Revisited

Cold War Epistemics, Revisited: Resistance and Legitimation in the Social Sciences
Central European University, Budapest,  February 5-6, 2016

In recent years, a renewed interest in postwar epistemic shifts invited the reconsideration of Cold War geographies (pointing to alternative globalization projects, the idea of a „socialist world,” the epistemic outcomes of Second-Third World encounters), temporalities (with regards to both the continuities and ruptures between the interwar and postwar orders, and the research into the emergence of „the future” as an object of scientific study and governance in the postwar period), and the complex role of transnational and international networks for the circulation of knowledge and expertize.

Taking heed of these lines of inquiry, the workshop invites participants to discuss their methodological and theoretical implication for the study of Cold War knowledge production, as well as to reflect, from the viewpoint of their specific research interests, on the issues of resistance and legitimation in postwar social sciences.

First, this entails exploring how social scientific knowledge production simultaneously worked to consolidate the emerging postwar social and political orders, while opening up spaces for dissent and critical reflection. Second, resistance and legitimation, as intellectual, professional, and existential strategies developed in the unstable context of the postwar expansion and reshuffling of the social sciences, can be considered as mutually enabling, rather than mutually exclusive responses to the challenges of postwar reconstruction. Finally, the topic of intellectual resistance and legitimation might itself be historicized as the product of the Cold War divisions and hierarchies of epistemic power, with a lasting presence and a major symbolic role in Central and Eastern Europe and its transitions from socialism.

Workshop program:

Friday, February 5, Gellner Room (Monument Building, first floor)

9.00 – 9.30 Welcome & introduction

9.30 – 11.30 Panel 1 – Chair: Victor Karady

János Mátyás Kovács (Institute for Human Sciences, Vienna)

Ágnes Gagyi, Zoltán Ginelli, András Pinkász (The Working Group for Public Sociology “Helyzet”)

12.00 – 14.00 Panel 2 – Chair: Karl Hall

Egle Rindzeviciute (Kingston University London) – “The Rise of System-Cybernetic Governmentality”

Vítĕzslav Sommer (Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Institute for Contemporary History) – “The Politics of Social Knowledge in Late Socialism: Socialist Governance in Czechoslovakia and Limits of Lay Expertise, 1970s–1980s”

15.00 – 17.00 Panel 3 – Chair: Balázs Trencsényi

Nenad Stefanov (Humboldt University of Berlin) – “Entanglements and Fragile Networks between the Intellectuals of West Germany and Socialist Yugoslavia”

Agata Zysiak (University of Łódź) – “Postwar Modernization and University for Working Class in Poland”

Saturday, February 6, Gellner Room (Monument Building, first floor)

9.00 – 11.00 Panel 4 – Chair: Ioana Macrea-Toma

Marcia Holmes (Birkbeck, University of London) – “Legitimate Resistance: Cold War Brainwashing, Interrogation, and the Behavioral Sciences”

James Mark (University of Exeter) – “Alternative Globalizations: Between Eastern Europe and the ‘Global South’”

11.30 – 13.30 Panel 5 – Chair: Constantin Iordachi

Aliki Angelidou (Panteion University)

Călin Cotoi (University of Bucharest) – “Social Sciences in Socialist Romania: The Absent Theory”

14.30 – 15.30 Roundtable discussion – workshop conclusions and future plans

Page of the event: http://history.ceu.edu/events/2016-02-05/cold-war-epistemics-revisited-resistance-and-legitimation-social-sciences

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