CFP Cold War Museology: How museums shape(d) our understanding of the Cold War An International Conference, June 2023

Jessica Douthwaite's picture
Call for Papers
April 4, 2022
Subject Fields: 
Archaeology, Contemporary History, Cultural History / Studies, Historic Preservation, Public History

We invite practitioners and academics to propose papers for an international conference hosted in Edinburgh in June 2023, that will bring together inter-disciplinary and international research on Cold War museology. We aim broadly to analyse the current condition of the material heritage the Cold War in theory and practice in Europe and beyond, while questioning gaps, deficits, challenges and future programmes of work. We will also make a selection from these papers to propose an edited volume of essays.

Please submit abstracts of between 200 and 300 words for a paper that links broadly with one of the following four sub-sections:

  1. Material: arranged as object biographies and tackling key issues such as collection, authenticity, significance, preservation, curation and representation. This section will consider how the social and cultural history of the Cold War has so far been presented alongside that of the industrial-military complex. It will introduce Cold War heritage studies from a critical vantage point; for example, highlighting the differences arising from institutional versus in situ heritage practices.
  2. Temporality: considering issues around Cold War periodisation and temporality; reflecting on the use of key events and dates in remembering the Cold War; considering how contemporary ideas about twentieth century history inform the design of Cold War exhibitions; discussing how shifting national identities and cultures have altered representations of the Cold War.
  3. Contentions: identifying issues that thus far have proved too complex or challenging to present in public galleries; evaluating the place of race, ethnicity and empire in Cold War museology; complicating Cold War narratives with perspectives from international museums and sites of heritage; evaluating how contemporary politics and memory have altered the course of past Cold War curation or current plans.
  4. Intangibility: discussing the challenge of collecting and representing Cold War experience in museum spaces; considering affect and audience reception of Cold War exhibitions; interrogating what role emotion plays in exhibitions on Cold War history; exploring how digital media, new technologies, and sensory tools can assist Cold War museology.

Deadline for abstracts: Monday 4th April 2022

This conference and volume of essays arise from an AHRC-funded collaborative project between the University of Stirling and National Museums Scotland, Materialising the Cold War (Project Reference: AH/V001078/1).

If you only wish to be considered for the conference, and not for publication in the collected volume then please let us know in the body of your email submission.

We will contact those authors whose topics may be suitable for the edited volume in May 2022 and ask for drafts by December 2022.

Contact Info: 

Please send abstracts or queries to: