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Building East-South Solidarities in the Global Seventies: A View from the Margins of Europe ♥

May 11 @ 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm

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Building East-South Solidarities in the Global Seventies: A View from the Margins of Europe

Wednesday, May 11, 2022  |  4:30-6:00 PM

Humanities Gateway 1030

Featuring Theodora Dragostinova, Associate Professor of History at Ohio State University


In the late 1970s, small Bulgaria launched an ambitious international cultural program: exhibitions, concerts, museum and monument openings, book readings, film screenings, and other mass cultural events dominated public life at home and abroad. Focusing on Bulgaria’s cultural outreach with India, Mexico, and Nigeria, this talk demonstrates the existence of vibrant partnerships along an East-South axis in the context of the global Cold War, explains the importance of cultural diplomacy in the late socialist period, and challenges notions of the seventies as a period of doom and gloom. Instead, when viewed from the margins, the 1970s appeared as a time of measured optimism when the agendas of the East, West, and the Global South dynamically interacted and surprisingly empowered actors on the periphery. In this context, Dragostinova presents an argument about “the advantages of smallness”—culture provided a unique opening for small states to project their visions and voice in the world.

Theodora Dragostinova is an Associate Professor of History at Ohio State University. Her work focuses on nationalism, migration, global history, and Cold War culture. Geographically, her research is focused on eastern Europe, with an emphasis on the Balkans and Bulgaria, but she also engages with comparative perspectives on Modern Europe in a global perspectives. She is the author of Between Two Motherlands: Nationality and Emigration among the Greeks in Bulgaria, 1900-1949 (Cornell University Press, 2011) and coeditor of Beyond Mosque, Church, and State: Alternative Narratives of the Nation in the Balkans (CEU Press, 2016) and the thematic cluster, “Beyond the Iron Curtain: Eastern Europe and the Global Cold War,” Slavic Review (2018). Her most recent book, The Cold War from the Margins: A Small Socialist State on the Global Cultural Scene, appeared with Cornell University Press in 2021.