Poletayev Institute for Theoretical and Historical Studies in the Humanities –
National Research University “Higher School of Economics”, Moscow
SOCIAL AND HUMAN SCIENCES ON BOTH SIDES OF THE ‘IRON CURTAIN’
October 17-19, 2013
This international conference is intended to put together research findings on the history of social and human sciences in the capitalist West and the socialist East during the second half of the 20th century. This topic has recently gained a considerable attention of historians, sociologists and philosophers of science as indicated by a growing number of conferences and publications in the past couple of years. A concept of “Cold War science”, in particular, has been applied to a variety of cases ranging from post-war economics and cybernetics to psychology and philosophy in different countries. An approach in terms of Cold War science tends to emphasize the importance of strategic objectives (military, intelligence) and of governmental resources in promoting certain analytical tools, in defining research agendas and in changing disciplinary hierarchies. The decisive role of Government and specific ideological contexts seems by now quite convincingly demonstrated. However, we would like to substantiate the straightforward knowledge/power thesis by considering new forms of critique and reflexivity in the social and human sciences, which have emerged during the after-war period. Post-structuralism, social studies of science are a few but important examples of this intellectual development. The context of Cold War also contributed to the emergence of new interdisciplinary approaches and cross-disciplinary fields like, for example, area studies on both sides of the Iron Curtain.