Protesters carry signs and act out "Saigon Puppet" demonstration in front of Wichita City Building.

Vietnam War protesters in Wichita, Kansas

By Other Means: The Cold War and U.S. Empire in Asia

A symposium at the Suzy Newhouse Center for the Humanities
Nov 11, 1:30–5 PM
Newhouse Center for the Humanities & Zoom
See access restrictions below

The Cold War as a term both refers to a particular interval in twentieth-century history and to a peculiarly totalizing explanatory framework. The Cold War period was characterized by recourse to a certain paradigm as a way to understand geopolitical relations, to game out or assess possible futures, and even to define certain types of abstract operations (in which, one might say, the possible collapsed into the necessary). It was defined both by events that did not happen (i.e. open war between the US and the Soviet Union), and by events that did happen: military conflict, cultural propaganda, covert operations, and much more. As a way of seeing the world, the Cold War was reductive and yet prolific, giving rise to different ways of thinking about history, modes of production, alliances, human rights, ethics, and identity.

This same period was also one of the deepest and murkiest involvement of the U.S. with Asia, as well as of open and concealed tensions between China and the Soviet Union, with the Third World as a field of activity. This symposium will examine the complex political, cultural, and theoretical developments of this moment, as well as their interrelation. It will explore the various means by which war was envisioned, imagined, and carried out. In the context of Cold War politics and U.S. empire in Asia, the form of the proxy war takes on distinct inflections.

This symposium brings together scholars working on this subject for an issue of the journal, Representations, with fellows at the Newhouse Center who will serve as discussants. It hopes to seed future collaborations and to initiate explorations within the broader community.


This in-person event is open to all members of the Wellesley College community.

To attend via Zoom, pre-registration is required. Click here to register for attendance.

For more information, please contact:

Image Credit:

National Archives at Kansas City