Gender, Sexuality, and the Cold War
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As Marko Dumančić writes in his introduction to Gender, Sexuality, and the Cold War, "despite the centrality of gender and sexuality in human relations, their scholarly study has played a secondary role in the history of the Cold War. . . . It is not an exaggeration to say that few were left unaffected by Cold War gender politics; even those who were in charge of producing, disseminating, and enforcing cultural norms were called on to live by the gender and sexuality models into which they breathed life." This underscores the importance of this volume, as here scholars tackle issues ranging from depictions of masculinity during the all-consuming space race, to the vibrant activism of Indian peasant women during this period, to the policing of sexuality inside the militaries of the world.

Gender, Sexuality, and the Cold War brings together a diverse group of scholars whose combined research spans fifteen countries across five continents, claiming a place as the first volume to examine how issues of gender and sexuality impacted both the domestic and foreign policies of states, far beyond the borders of the United States, during the tumult of the Cold War.



Publié par
Date de parution 19 juin 2017
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9780826521446
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 1 Mo

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Gender, Sexuality, and the Cold War
Gender, Sexuality, and the Cold War
Philip E. Muehlenbeck
Vanderbilt University Press
© 2017 by Vanderbilt University Press
Nashville, Tennessee 37235
All rights reserved
First printing 2017
This book is printed on acid-free paper.
Manufactured in the United States of America
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data on file
LC control number 2016042790
LC classification number D842 .G445 2017
Dewey class number 327.09/045
LC record available at
ISBN 978–0-8265–2142–2 (hardcover)
ISBN 978–0-8265–2143–9 (paperback)
ISBN 978–0-8265–2144–6 (ebook)
Introduction: Hidden in Plain Sight: The Histories of Gender and Sexuality during the Cold War
Marko Dumančić
Part I: Sexuality
1 . Faceless and Stateless: French Occupation Policy toward Women and Children in Postwar Germany (1945–1949)
Katherine Rossy
2 . Patriarchy and Segregation: Policing Sexuality in US-Icelandic Military Relations
Valur Ingimundarson
3 . Queering Subversives in Cold War Canada
Patrizia Gentile
4 . “Nonreligious Activities”: Sex, Anticommunism, and Progressive Christianity in Late Cold War Brazil
Benjamin A. Cowan
5 . Manning the Enemy: US Perspectives on International Birthrates during the Cold War
Kathleen A. Tobin
Part II: Femininities
6 . Indian Peasant Women’s Activism in a Hot Cold War
Elisabeth Armstrong
7 . The Medicalization of Childhood in Mexico during the Early Cold War, 1945–1960
Nichole Sanders
8 . Africa’s Kitchen Debate: Ghanaian Domestic Space in the Age of the Cold War
Jeffrey S. Ahlman
9 . Mobilizing Women? State Feminisms in Communist Czechoslovakia and Socialist Egypt
May Hawas and Philip E. Muehlenbeck
10 . A Vietnamese Woman Directs the War Story: Duc Hoan, 1937–2003
Karen Turner
11 . Global Feminism and Cold War Paradigms: Women’s International NGOs and the United Nations, 1970–1985
Karen Garner
Part III: Masculinities
12 . “Men of the World” or “Uniformed Boys”? Hegemonic Masculinity and the British Army in the Era of the Korean War
Grace Huxford
13 . Yuri Gagarin and Celebrity Masculinity in Soviet Culture
Erica L. Fraser
In the past fifteen years scholarship examining how gender and sexuality have influenced the United States during the Cold War has flourished. 1 Yet, what is striking is the dearth of English-language scholarship that focuses on the ways in which gender and sexuality influenced the domestic and foreign policies of states other than the United States during this time period. This volume is an initial step toward rectifying this problem.
Although categorizations of gender and sexuality are interconnected and relational, we have organized this book into three sections—Sexuality, Femininities, and Masculinities—in an effort to aid classroom use. This volume is not comprehensive, of course, nor could such a collection of essays ever hope to be so. We would have preferred to include more chapters on masculinity, for example, but had difficulty finding contributors—which attests to the relative scarcity of studies of masculinities in the Cold War in comparison to those that focus on femininities. Nonetheless, by broadening the study of the Cold War to include gender and sexuality and by moving away from America’s shores toward the rest of the world, the volume—with its multidisciplinary approach and emphasis on multiarchival research (primary-source research was conducted in fifteen different countries)—aspires to inspire further research on how gender and sexuality affected the Cold War domestic and foreign policies of states other than the United States.
I thank the following individuals for offering peer-review comments on prospective chapters for this volume: Jeffrey Ahlman, Ben Alziari, Francisca de Haan, Michael Donoghue, Melissa Feinberg, Mary Hawkesworth, Renata Keller, Andy Kirkendall, Pia Koivunen, Brandon Locke, Maxim Matusevich, Stephan Miescher, Rebecca Pulju, Andy Rotter, Kathleen Tobin, Gregory Winger, Jay Winter, and Sergei Zhuk. I also extend special thanks to Jenny Hamilton, a student at George Washington University who assisted me in editing these chapters with an eye toward comprehension by advanced undergraduate students. Finally, Eli Bortz, my acquisitions editor at Vanderbilt University Press, was an integral part of this project from conception to completion. This volume is much better because of his involvement.
1 . Influential studies in this subgenre include K. A. Cuordileone, Manhood and American Political Culture in the Cold War (New York: Routledge, 2005); Robert D. Dean, Imperial Brotherhood: Gender and the Making of Cold War Foreign Policy (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2002); David Kenneth Johnson, The Lavender Scare: The Cold War Persecution of Gays and Lesbians in the Federal Government (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004); and Andrew J. Rotter, Comrades at Odds: The United States and India, 1947–1964 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2000).
Gender, Sexuality, and the Cold War
Hidden in Plain Sight
The Histories of Gender and Sexuality during the Cold War
Marko Dumančić
The photograph of Leonid Brezhnev kissing Erich Honecker counts among the most iconic images of the late Cold War era; the two men embrace tightly, with eyes closed and lips touching. Taken by Régis Bossu in 1979, the photo captured the two elderly statesmen exchanging kisses on the occasion of the German Democratic Republic’s thirtieth anniversary. The amorous kiss proved sensationalistic enough to receive a two-page spread in Paris Match . In 1990, this same photograph attained immortality on a nearly mile-long stretch of the Berlin Wall when Soviet artist Dmitri Vrubel replicated it, cementing it at the center of the German capital’s public forum. The mural’s title, God, Help Me Survive This Deadly Love , unambiguously referenced the Soviet Union’s lethal fraternalism. But the passionate kiss became iconic not because of its open allusion to the dysfunction of the Warsaw Pact but rather because of its evocative gender and sexuality politics. Vrubel’s piece expressed revulsion toward the USSR and the people’s democracies through the politics of sex in a way that made this image more memorable (or worth remembering) than those murals that arguably fit better in the pantheon of Cold War visual imagery, including depictions of brave wall jumpers and other dissenters (such as Andrei Sakharov).
This portrait of two elderly men displaying affection in public reveals how explicitly the politics of gender and sexuality shaped expressions of the Cold War, as well as the memory of conflict between the superpowers. The image is implicitly homophobic, as it codes this act as humorous, bizarre, and grotesque: the “deadly love” in the title not only invokes foreign policy, but also ties the perversion of communist systems to the “perversion” of same-sex affection. Furthermore, the evocation of a “deadly love” at the height of the AIDS epidemic, which was frequently blamed on gay men’s sexual habits, adds another sinister dimension to this seemingly playful instance of political satire. The implied homophobia directly mocks the interpersonal customs of a generation of men who led socialist movements, as if invoking the derogatory German slang term for gay men, “warm brothers” ( warmer brüder ). “Tough masculinity,” so often demanded of men on both sides of the Iron Curtain, emerged triumphant even as the Cold War gasped its last breath.

Figure 1. The Berlin Wall’s infamous “fraternal kiss” between Leonid Brezhnev and Erich Honecker (Dmitri Vrubel’s mural, God, Help Me Survive This Deadly Love , based on a 1979 photo by Régis Bossu).
My uncomplimentary reading of Vrubel’s work aligns with the creator’s own reaction to Bossu’s photograph when he first saw it in Paris in 1989. He communicated his unease with the picture in the following way: “It was a repulsive, revolting thing that almost made me throw up. But still, as usual, I wanted to preserve in art that which can’t be preserved in it, and this painting somehow began to live in my mind by itself.” 1 Aversion, rather than sympathy, prompted Vrubel to magnify the scene, make it larger than life, and turn it into a shaming and humiliating spectacle; as such, the mural continues to negatively define popular ideas about the Soviet bloc. The apparent queerness of the situation captured by the French photographer openly ridicules the socialist systems and their standing in the Cold War through a display of emotive excess, or camp. The campiness of the Brezhnev-Honecker kiss has become so recognizable since 1990 that it now adorns mugs, plates, towels, and T-shirts, memorializing the Cold War era with distant, mocking irony. The hundreds of tourists who take photos with the mural in the background enshrine this image as a key part of distorted Cold War memorabilia, making the communist systems seem even more depraved and feeble in retrospect.
This visual document reveals how pivotal gender and sexuality were, first, in manifesting anxieties during the Cold W

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