CENTRAL Workshop: Commodities, Trade, and Materiality in the Global Cold War

Room: Seminar room 1 (ground floor).
Street address: Berggasse 7, 1090 Wien.

How can the history of the Cold War and its aftermath be told through the goods and technologies that were traded at the time? This workshop brings global, social and economic historians into conversation with sociologists to ask what material objects can reveal about historical transformations, such as the ones that took place in Central and Eastern Europe around 1989. It maps how commodity flows, as well as the people involved in the production and trade of these items, came to shape and be shaped by changing legal regimes, competing development models, and shifting transnational alliances. Moreover, it interrogates how such exchanges live on in the technologies and ideas that circulate today.

Czechoslovak and British arms experts swapping expertise shortly after 1989 (Lubomír Popelínský, Cestování za zbraněmi. Prague: Naše vojsko, 2001)


Wednesday, 19.04.2023

Welcome & Introduction (Serguei Oushakine, Anna Calori, Rosamund Johnston)

Panel I:
Distribution & Scaling Up (discussant: Alexey Golubev)

Gergely Magos (ELTE), The Transfer of work organization. Hungarian Pharmacy in the 1950s

Rosamund Johnston (University of Vienna), Relations Forged, Scrapped, and Salvaged through the T-72 Tank—The View from Martin, Slovakia

Ilona Kappanyos (ELTE), Antibébi – The Emergence and Distribution of Novel Birth Control Methods in State Socialist Hungary


Panel II:
Decolonization (discussant: Dora Vargha)

Jelena Đureinović (University of Vienna), Prosthetics and Decolonisation: Medical Internationalism and Solidarity Networks of Yugoslav Partisan Veterans in Africa

Alila Brossard Antonielli (Humboldt Universität zu Berlin), “List of emergency medical needs": Mozambique's Liberation Front Health services and the flow of medical supplies from east and west (1966–1974)

Coffee Break

Panel III: Currency Reserves and Foreign Trade (discussant: Clemens Jobst)

Ondřej Vojtěchovský (Charles University), "Where we can't execute the plan, the Yugoslavs will help". Import of construction works from Yugoslavia to Czechoslovakia in the 1960s to 1980s

Martin Gumiela (University of Vienna), Offering a Sense of “Western Lifestyle“ – The Polonia firms in late state-socialist Poland

Ema Hrešanová (Charles University), Incubating the Transformation: Infant Incubators, Bricolage, and Medical Internationalism in the State Socialist Czechoslovakia



Thursday, 20.04.2023


Keynote Lecture (RECET Transformative Seminar)

Alexey Golubev, Science to Byt: The Urban Landscapes of Knowledge in the Cold War USSR
Introduction by Prof. Dr. Philipp Ther (RECET)
2R-EG-07 – lecture hall of the Institute for Eastern European History)

Panel IV: Development (discussant: Eva-Maria Muschik)

Anna Calori (University of Vienna), Exporting the Yugoslav alternative? Tracing the Yugoslav roots of non-aligned industrial development models

Jakub Mazanec (Charles University), The Cold War Export of Czechoslovak Hydroexpertise and Technology

Dora Vargha (Humboldt Universität zu Berlin), Medical technologies as solidarity: Eastern European goods in an alternative international health

Concluding Remarks