The Cold War was arguably the longest modern conflict between competing nations and ideologies. Much of the combat was communicated through media and related speculation about life on the other side. New definitions of masculinity and femininity emerged as gender became a particularly scrutinized means of measuring differences between East and West. On both sides of the wall, texts, images, and other modes of performance contributed to these nations’ defining terms of gender. Using the famous “Kitchen Debate” of 1959 as a critical launching pad, this seminar will introduce the importance of gender to the Cold War. Through a variety of texts, including literature, advertisements, cartoons, public service films, and popular media, seminar participants will investigate the communicative practices that both divided and linked the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. along gender lines during the early decades of this era.
Seminar led by Kate Baldwin, Northwestern Univeristy