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Carolina Seminar • The Cold War of Everyday Life in the UNESCO Secretariat, 1956-1967

February 15, 2018 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

A chapter from a larger project on Soviet participation in the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) under N. S. Khrushchev and L. I. Brezhnev, this paper provides a case study of the daily lives of Soviet citizens who worked in the international civil service of the UN during the Cold War. It investigates how these Soviet specialists from a range of backgrounds interpreted their foreign work environment by creatively appropriating Soviet narratives of international affairs in the 1950s and 1960s. Exploring the tactics employed by Soviet UNESCO workers to reconcile their oath to serve the international organization with the loyalty demanded from their Soviet homeland, the paper also assesses the extent to which these Soviet citizens were successful in their efforts to navigate the dual disciplinary regimes imposed on them by proxies of the Soviet state in Paris and a UNESCO administration governed by the norms of the bureaucracies of Western states. 

To request a copy of the paper, please email Dr. Eren Tasar (

Louis Porter is a PhD Candidate in the UNC History Department. His dissertation, “Cold War Internationalisms: The Soviet Union in UNESCO, 1945-1967,” is the first history based on archival sources of Soviet involvement in noncommunist international organizations beyond the UN’s headquarters in New York. His work is shaped by a year of research at Russian state archives in Moscow and at UNESCO archives in Paris.
The Carolina Seminar: Russia and Its Empires, East and West is co-sponsored by the Carolina Seminar Program, the UNC Department of History, and the Center for Slavic, Eurasian, and East European Studies. Please note that the participants will give an overview of their projects, but will not read a formal paper. Instead, papers or book chapters will be circulated ahead of time to those who are interested in attending and participating in the discussion. 


February 15, 2018
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
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