Ruth Oldenziel

Ruth Oldenziel is Professor University of Technology, Eindhoven and Associate Professor, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

  • Cold War Kitchen

    Cold War Kitchen

    Americanization, Technology, and European Users

    Ruth Oldenziel and Karin Zachmann

    The kitchen as political symbol and material reality in the cold war years.

    Richard Nixon and Nikita Khrushchev's famous “kitchen debate” in 1958 involved more than the virtues of American appliances. Both Nixon and Khrushchev recognized the political symbolism of the modern kitchen; the kind of technological innovation represented in this everyday context spoke to the political system that produced it. The kitchen connects the “big” politics of politicians and statesmen to the “small” politics of users and interest groups. Cold War Kitchen looks at the kitchen as material object and symbol, considering the politics and the practices of one of the most famous technological icons of the twentieth century. Defining the kitchen as a complex technological artifact as important as computers, cars, and nuclear missiles, the book examines the ways in which a range of social actors in Europe shaped the kitchen as both ideological construct and material practice. These actors—from manufacturers and modernist architects to housing reformers and feminists—constructed and domesticated the technological innovations of the postwar kitchen. The home became a “mediation junction” in which women users and others felt free to advise producers from the consumer's point of view. In essays illustrated by striking period photographs, the contributors to Cold War Kitchen consider such topics as Soviet consumers' ambivalent responses to the American dream kitchen argued over by Nixon and Khrushchev; the Frankfurter Küche, a European modernist kitchen of the interwar period (and its export to Turkey when its designer fled the Nazis); and the British state-subsidized kitchen design so innovative that it was mistaken for a luxury American product. The concluding essays challenge the received wisdom of past interpretations of the kitchen debate.

    • Hardcover $36.00
    • Paperback $25.00

Contributor

  • Entangled Geographies

    Entangled Geographies

    Empire and Technopolitics in the Global Cold War

    Gabrielle Hecht

    Investigations into how technologies became peculiar forms of politics in an expanded geography of the Cold War.

    The Cold War was not simply a duel of superpowers. It took place not just in Washington and Moscow but also in the social and political arenas of geographically far-flung countries emerging from colonial rule. Moreover, Cold War tensions were manifest not only in global political disputes but also in struggles over technology. Technological systems and expertise offered a powerful way to shape countries politically, economically, socially, and culturally. Entangled Geographies explores how Cold War politics, imperialism, and postcolonial nation building became entangled in technologies and considers the legacies of those entanglements for today's globalized world.

    The essays address such topics as the islands and atolls taken over for military and technological purposes by the supposedly non-imperial United States, apartheid-era South Africa's efforts to achieve international legitimacy as a nuclear nation, international technical assistance and Cold War politics, the Saudi irrigation system that spurred a Shi'i rebellion, and the momentary technopolitics of emergency as practiced by Medecins sans Frontières.

    The contributors to Entangled Geographies offer insights from the anthropology and history of development, from diplomatic history, and from science and technology studies. The book represents a unique synthesis of these three disciplines, providing new perspectives on the global Cold War.

    • Paperback $35.00