By Andy Barwick, Sian O’Sullivan, Natalie Wong Jiayi and Beth Moyes

In the ‘Anthropology of the Cold War’ module, led by Dr Stavroula Pipyrou, our task was to create fortnightly group presentations that could either be based on reality or be entirely fictional. These scenarios had to be based on the thematic focus of our readings for the week but could also reach into other weekly topics to create links throughout the module. Presentations could take any form we chose, as long as they were creative and helped us to inhibit the Cold War setting and understand the era for what it was – multifaceted, layered, and complex.

We chose many different structures for our presentations, including compiling case files, writing diary entries, and, as in this example, creating scripted scenarios. Taking our classes online meant that these presentations could help us connect with our classmates through these collaborations, as well as empathise with the lived experience of the Cold War, which in turn deepened our understanding of the readings and discussions held in class.

The presentation exposed here was given on 20th April 2021 under the theme of ‘Anticipation and Immateriality in the Cold War’. In our presentation, we wanted to recreate the atmosphere of constant expectation of disaster that came with the heightened awareness of nuclear weapons. We also created thematic links with topics of the sensory experience of the Cold War through our use of artificial backgrounds and sound effects, as well as international political interactions and the impact of the Cold War on family life. The presentation also focused on the layered impact of the conflict; the Cold War influenced life on an international, national, local, and even household level.

A little about the authors:

Andrew Barwick is an undergraduate in Social Anthropology

Sian O’Sullivan is an undergraduate in Social Anthropology

Natalie Wong Jiayi is an undergraduate in International Relations and Social Anthropology

Beth Moyes is an undergraduate in Modern History and Social Anthropology