The Other Cold War

Heonik Kwon

Columbia University Press

The Other Cold War

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Pub Date: December 2010

ISBN: 9780231153041

232 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $65.00£48.00

Pub Date: December 2010

ISBN: 9780231526708

232 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $64.99£48.00

The Other Cold War

Heonik Kwon

Columbia University Press

In this conceptually bold project, Heonik Kwon uses anthropology to interrogate the cold war's cultural and historical narratives. Adopting a truly panoramic view of local politics and international events, he challenges the notion that the cold war was a global struggle fought uniformly around the world and that the end of the war marked a radical, universal rupture in modern history.

Incorporating comparative ethnographic study into a thorough analysis of the period, Kwon upends cherished ideas about the global and their hold on contemporary social science. His narrative describes the slow decomposition of a complex social and political order involving a number of local and culturally creative processes. While the nations of Europe and North America experienced the cold war as a time of "long peace," postcolonial nations entered a different reality altogether, characterized by vicious civil wars and other exceptional forms of violence. Arguing that these events should be integrated into any account of the era, Kwon captures the first sociocultural portrait of the cold war in all its subtlety and diversity.

A history, not of the end of the cold war, but of the process of its ending, both locally and globally. A rich and compelling account of that complex period.

Marilyn B. Young, New York University

Sophisticated and original. Deploying his ethnographer's insights into modern Korea, Vietnam and Indonesia, Heonik Kwon pays special attention to the local fall out of the East-West confrontations and in particular to the fiercest of the cold war battle-fronts, in post-colonial Southeast Asia, and to the aftershocks, which have not come to an end. The Other Cold War will renew the great debates on the cold war, postcolonialism, and the modern history of Southeast Asia.

Adam Kuper, Fellow of the British Academy

Heonik Kwon is an ethnographer, and ethnography is a way of understanding peoples and events by composing their stories. Kwon's book recomposes the standard, essentially pacific story of the cold war by taking as equal protagonists with Europeans and Americans the peoples like the Koreans and Vietnamese among whom an 'other cold war' raged violent and deadly. This is new historical knowledge that arises from a new formal sophistication.

Myra Jehlen, Rutgers University, author of Readings at the Edge of Literature

A spectacular achievement from one of the most creative and theoretically sophisticated scholars writing about the cold war. While many authors have called for a truly global conception of the cold war, Kwon actually achieves it, ranging broadly across the world, time, and the range of human experience. In the process, he convincingly questions much of the received wisdom about the second half of the twentieth century and offers arguments that any serious student of the cold war will grapple with for years to come.

Mark Atwood Lawrence, University of Texas at Austin

The Other Cold War is a fascinating investigation of the very meaning of the Cold War. Given its brevity, it can only be suggestive-this is not a comprehensive history of the postwar era but a primer on how to reimagine what we have long taken for granted. it is as brilliant as it is iconoclastic.

Andrew Preston, International Affairs

Brilliant and timely

Mark Philip Bradley, H-Diplo Roundtable

The Other Cold War should quickly become necessary reading for all those interested in the global historiography of the late twentieth century.

Jeffrey James Byrne, Pacific Affairs

Kwon's focus on the local experience of the Cold War is a valuable contribution to the scholarship of Cold War studies and helps readers to better connect with the violent upheaval that the Cold War created in the lives of many in the world.

Javan D. Frazier, H-War
Part 1
1. The Idea of the End
2. Two Color Lines of the Twentieth Century
3. American Orientalism
Part 2
4. The Ambidextrous Body
5. The Democratic Family
Part 3
6. Rethinking Postcolonial History
7. Cold War Culture in Perspective

About the Author

Heonik Kwon is reader in anthropology at the London School of Economics and previously taught at the University of Edinburgh. He is the author of Ghosts of War in Vietnam and After the Massacre: Commemoration and Consolation in Ha My and My Lai.