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«January 2020»

The Cold War from the Margins: Bulgarian Culture and the Global 1970s

This project engages the cold war order of the 1970s through the experiences of a small state, Bulgaria, on the global cultural scene. Using cultural exchange as a lens, I detail Bulgarian policies at home and abroad to explore the importance of cultural diplomacy during a period of profound worldwide reorganization. By studying the unlikely encounters that emerged through culture, I show that the complex transformation of the cold war order in 1970s was not only the result of superpower dynamics. As contacts between East and West increased and the developing countries gained prominence, new opportunities arose for small states to interact globally and influence world affairs. Culture provided one successful strategy for shaping the global order through active engagement with a range of actors in the First, Second, and Third Worlds. In an unexpected twist, cold war cultural exchange became an aspect of contemporary cultural globalization.

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