Call for Papers: Post-War/Cold-War in the Region. Fabrications 31:2

Fabrications: The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand invites papers for a special issue (Vol. 31, No. 2) on Post-war / Cold-War in the Region edited by Mirjana Lozanovska and Cameron Logan. Papers are due by 20 November 2020.

World War II transformed the process of production at a global scale and, as a consequence, the period of economic prosperity that followed is often considered a ‘Golden Age’. But the booming postwar decades, frequently referred to in France as the Trente Glorieuses, also occurred in the shadow of the Cold War. Following the defeat of Hitler and Nazi Germany by Stalin’s Red Army in 1945, the world was caught in the grip of a political confrontation between the USA and the USSR, one which dominated the international environment for more than forty years (1948-1990). While the Cold War meant the end of WWII in Europe, wars erupted in the Asia-Pacific region, most obviously in Vietnam and Korea, but also in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Cambodia to name just a few.

The Cold War drew ideological lines. Architectural historian, Juliana Maxim argues the USSR and USA presented competing architectural modernities. Maxim’s work, along with that of Greg Castillo and a handful of others, focuses on a political dialectic, and thus confronts consistent depoliticization in the architectural historiography of modernism, a process left mostly undisturbed by the recent emphasis on difference and plurality. Łukasz Stanek examines the export of architecture and planning from socialist countries to the ‘Third World’ and conceptualises this as Cold War transfer. What of this post-war/Cold War political ideology did émigré architects departing Europe, transport to Australia and New Zealand?

This ideological divide mobilised modernisation and development aid programmes. Educational initiatives from the period such as the Colombo Plan (1951) focused on education and cultural exchange, and were deeply conditioned by Cold War political arrangements as much as by longstanding colonial ties. Even more explicit in its cold war implications for the region was Australia and New Zealand’s strategic pivot to the United States and its formalisation in the ANZUS Treaty (1951). The security alliance was the foundation for a much more visible US footprint in Australasia, expressed in architectural terms not only through embassies but also military bases and other security installations such as the one at Pine Gap near Alice Springs. The US presence in the wider region was also dramatically expanded in the period, with facilities established or expanded up and down the western rim of the Pacific.

This issue of Fabrications seeks to explore the post-war period not as mid-century architectural aesthetics and urbanisation, or through its hero architects, but through the lens of architecture’s participation in the ideological and political divide of the Cold War. Fabrications seeks papers on a broad range of issues that highlight the political and ideological aspect of architectural history in this period with a focus on Australia and New Zealand and the Asia Pacific region. The editors encourage contributions that include the following:

  • the ideological/political position of Australia and New Zealand during the Cold War and it impact on architectural discourse and practice;
  • new networks that emerged in Australia and New Zealand in architecture and the visual arts due to Cold War orientations;
  • the involvement of Australian and New Zealand architects in projects linked to Cold War political agendas in the Asia-Pacific;
  • architectural education and the Colombo Plan or equivalent organisations; émigré architects and the effects of anti-communist political narratives in Australia and New Zealand and their alignment with the USA;
  • the architecture and politics of post war refugee camps, military bases, embassies in Australia and New Zealand.

Authors’ Guidelines can be accessed here.

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