This dissertation examines the cultural logic of the Cold War, on both sides of the Iron Curtain, as a symptom of postmodern globalization. Following Under Secretary of State Dean Acheson's 1947 proclamation that Cold War propaganda should be crafted as "clearer than truth," this study investigates the complicated relationships among truth, production, and interpretation that emerged in similar manners between the U.S. and U.S.S.R. during the Cold War period. In particular, I consider literary, visual, and critical texts that contest a logic of truth which seeks to dissociate truth from its conditions of production. In so doing, I assert that a second Cold War took place between a global creative class, which has been termed "the multitude," and the (unwittingly) allied forces of the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. Accordingly, I argue that the Cold War cannot be understood simply as a battle between East and West, capitalism and communism, two world orders, or disparate modes of production.
In chapter one, I explore the transition to postmodernism, as the cultural logic of late capitalism, to detail the changing conditions for aesthetic and political dissent against the neo-liberal management of American capitalism and the socialist management of Soviet state capitalism. I explore diplomatic correspondences between the U.S. and U.S.S.R. as well as a number of examples of aesthetic dissent ranging from popular magazines to Soviet subcultures to Leftist American avant-garde visual art and a ten-year old American schoolgirl's quest to discover the truth about the Cold War. In chapter two, I provide a close reading of E.L. Doctorow's The Book of Daniel, a meta-fictional, "autobiographical" novel about political life during the Cold War period. I read this text alongside Louis Althusser's autobiography, The Future Lasts Forever, to examine the complexities of locating truth that have resulted from postmodernity's complication of the distinction between subjects and objects. Chapter three presents a historical case study of how the concept of truth was contested within samizdat, the underground late-Soviet self-publishing movement. In particular, I look at Metropol, a 1979 samizdat literary anthology, which, I argue exemplifies a form of literary communism within the creative block of actually lived "communism." The fourth and final chapter explores the autobiography of Assata Shakur--communist, former Black Panther, and escaped convict who writes from socialist Cuba. I argue that the complex interplay of narrative forms in her text, as well as her use of intuition as a methodology, exposes a logic of truth that is non-representational, points to similarities between late capitalist and prison temporalities, and radically remaps the discursive parameters of the Cold War.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. July 2012. Major: Comparative Studies in Discourse and Society. Advisor: Meredith Morgan Gill. 1 computer file (PDF); vii, 284 pages.
Gill, Meredith Morgan.
The clarity of the Cold War: truth and literary communism between the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R. in the era of postmodern globalization..
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