The Cold War Research Network

The Cold War is increasingly regarded as a global phenomenon, and its history has expanded into a multidisciplinary research field. A range of new perspectives have been introduced to redefine and reconceptualize the very meaning and role of “Cold War” in post-war history. The study of the Cold War is no longer the exclusive realm of traditional political and diplomatic historians, and recent accounts have provided broader thematic and geographic scope. Whereas traditional studies were for a long time resolutely centred on the bipolar contest between the United States and the Soviet Union, efforts to ‘globalize‘ Cold War concepts have drawn greater attention to the active involvement of other actors around the world, in the process upsetting established periodisations, narratives, and agencies, and overturning the standard view that sees regions beyond Europe as mere pawns in the superpower game. 

The CWRN was originally established in 2017 to bring the study of the Cold War in the Benelux region in line with broader trends in the field, but it has gone online in October 2020 in the wake of the pandemic, and it will continue as an emphatically international forum. It is organised by representatives of three Dutch Universities, Utrecht University (Laurien Crump), the University of Amsterdam (Ruud van Dijk), and Leiden University (Giles Scott-Smith), to bring together researchers and students who are interested in the latest approaches to Cold War history and its place in 20th-century international history. The CWRN aims to be a platform for presenting ongoing research, developing new projects, and stimulating inter-university cooperation.  

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