Call for Papers: “Reconceptualizing the Cold War: On-the-ground Experiences in Asia,” National University of Singapore (NUS) and NUS Museum, 29-30 June 2020

Kisho Tsuchiya's picture
Call for Papers
June 29, 2020
Subject Fields: 
Asian History / Studies, Cultural History / Studies, Oral History, Political History / Studies, World History / Studies



We are pleased to announce the third workshop of our project, “Reconceptualizing the Cold War: On-the-ground Experiences in Asia.” The project has two main aims. First, it aims to build an online archive of oral history collections concerning the Cold War and decolonization in Asia. The second objective is to publish edited volumes based on the papers collected through our workshops. The report of our previous workshops is available as H-Diplo Conference Report (CR-2019-1) at


Through these activities, we aim to capture the emotions, enthusiasms, and fears of the era through exploring experiences of ordinary people who went through various real and imagined wars. Through this oral history project—an attempt at history from below and from Asia—we aim to draw attention toward diverse local struggles, social antagonisms, and culture wars, as well as gender, ethnic, religious, and postcolonial tensions, that have often been obscured under standard narratives of the Cold War. Ultimately, we hope to destabilize the conventional understanding of the Cold War as a single, international confrontation between the two superpowers, thereby reconceptualise the historical category of the “Cold War.”


To this end, we will convene the third international workshop of our project at the National University of Singapore (NUS) on 29-30 June 2020, and invite scholars, graduate students, independent researchers and writers who have been conducting or planning to conduct oral historical research in this field, and are interested in taking part in the project. We welcome paper proposals on any topic and on any geographical location within Asia, but particularly welcome those that involve oral history. The following are the central questions: How did ordinary people experience and even take advantage of Cold War logics in their own everyday lives? How did local and historical conditions contribute to the shaping and maintenance of the Cold War world? How would the use of oral history and its focus on everyday politics destabilize standard narratives of the Cold War? What truly was the Cold War and how can we reconceptualize it?


The venue of the workshop is the NUS Museum. Each workshop participant will receive round-trip airfare to and from Singapore, as well as three-night accommodation at Kent Vale Serviced Residences at NUS. We welcome applications from anywhere, but particularly encourage scholars, graduate students, and independent researchers and writers in Asia to apply. Workshop participants will be asked to contribute at least portions of their oral history interviews to our archives. Also, all participants' papers will be considered for publication in an anthology we are planning to compile after the workshop. If interested, please send a 250-word abstract and Curriculum Vitae by 15 December 2019 to the email addresses of the project ( ) and the acting organizer, TSUCHIYA Kisho (Department of History, NUS, ). All enquiries should be sent to these two addresses as well.

Contact Info: 

Kisho Tsuchiya

Department of History

National University of Singapore

Contact Email: