Cold War Seminar | Bunker legacies. Myths, Memories and Materialities in Danish Cold War Museums

Séminaire en ligne | Guerre froide: impacts, héritages, enjeux

Bunker legacies. Myths, Memories and Materialities in Danish Cold War Museums

Vendredi 2 mai 2024 à 14h – Amphi Vareille

Organisé par Lucie Genay.

Lien BBB

Abstract: The Cold War shaped the Danish landscape and cityscape profoundly. Numerous bunkers remain today as legacies of a time where fear of a nuclear World War Three was imminent. This presentation delves into “the bunker” as materiality and myth, drawing inspiration from bunker studies from a broad range of fields incl. history, geography and architecture.  The paper historicises the Cold War bunker from its origin as vital part of the total defence over obsolete and dormant object in the early post-Cold War period to a new afterlife as re-appropriated and cherished heritage relic. An analysis of contemporary Danish Cold War bunker museums leads to a discussion of the implications of Cold War museums being bunker museums. I argue that that (museum) function follows (bunker) form and that turning Cold War bunkers into Cold War museums that prioritise a war narrative means that memories, identities and meaning-making produced at these sites become inextricably linked to war, pushing aside equally legitimate memories of the Cold War. This calls for reflection, not least because of the controversial character of Cold War debates in Denmark and the recent mobilisation of Cold War history in making sense of the war in Ukraine.

Rosanna Farbøl is an Associate Professor at the Department of Archeology, Conservation and History at the University of Oslo. She is a cultural and political historian of the 20th and 21st century whose principal research interests are Cold War history, nuclear culture, civil defense, media, architecture, heritage and memory studies. Her PhD dissertation « Koldkrigere, medløbere og røde lejesvende. Den Kolde Krig i dansk historiekultur 1989-201 » (« Cold warriors, fellow travellers and red henchmen: The Cold War in Danish history culture 1989 – 2015 ») was defended at Aarhus University, published by Gad in 2017, and won the award History Book of the Year 2017. She has since worked at the University of Southern Denmark, Aarhus University, and Lund University.

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