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Cordial Cold War : Cultural Actors in India and the German Democratic Republic

Book description

Cordial Cold War examines cultural entanglements, in various forms, between two distant yet interconnected sites of the Cold War—India and the German Democratic Republic (GDR). Focusing on theatre performances, film festivals, newsreels, travel literature, radio broadcasting, cartography and art as sites of engagement, the chapters spotlight spaces of interaction that emerged in spite of, and within, the ambits of Cold War constraints. The inter-disciplinary collection sheds light on the variegated nature of translocal cultural entanglements, at work even before the GDR was officially recognized as a sovereign state by India in 1972. By foregrounding the role of actors, their practices and the sites of their entanglement, the contributions show how creative energies were mobilized to forge zones of friendship, mutual interest and envisioned solidarities.

This volume situates actors from the Global South as mutual co-shapers of the cultural Cold War, therein shifting its Euro-American and Soviet epicenters to Non-Aligned India. Going beyond official state channels of international political dialogue, it locates cordiality in the micro-histories and everyday experiences of interpersonal engagements, bringing to focus a hitherto underexplored chapter of India–Germany entanglements.

About the editor

Anandita Bajpai is currently a Research Fellow at Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin. From 2017 to 2020, she was a lecturer at the Institute for Asian and African Studies, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany. She has been a postdoctoral fellow in the Modern India in German Archives, 1706–1989 (MIDA) Project funded by the German Research Council since 2014.

is the author of Speaking the Nation: The Oratorical Making of Secular, Neo-liberal India (2018). She is also the editor (with Dr Heike Liebau) of the Archival Reflexicon, an open-access bilingual archival guide, which is a platform for theoretical and conceptual reflections on archival architectures/organizing logics as well as thematic contributions on India-related holdings of specific German archives.

Her current project focuses on cultural entanglements between India and the German Democratic Republic (GDR). In this direction, she is pursuing research on overlapping trajectories of the East German International Radio broadcaster, Radio Berlin International, and the Bonn-based radio station from the Federal Republic of Germany, Deutsche Welle. She is the director of a documentary film on Radio Berlin International (its journalists based in present-day Germany and its listeners in Madhepura, Bihar, India) titled The Sound of Friendship: Warm Wavelengths in a Cold, Cold War.




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Politics and Society in India and the Global South


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