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Introducing the Cold War Working Group

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Doctoral candidates Addison Jensen and Mattie Webb announce the formation of the Cold War Working Group (CWWG), a subset of the Center for Cold War Studies and International History (CCWS). The CWWG is a collaborative, graduate student-led group intended to provide a supportive, welcoming environment for graduate students working on or around the Cold War and international histories. Jensen and Webb founded this group with three goals in mind: to provide graduate students with a safe space to workshop their works-in-progress, to host honest and open discussions about the job market and career opportunities outside of academia, and to restore the sense of student community that has been sorely missed in the last year of the pandemic. As part of this endeavor, the CWWG will hold a series of virtual events for the winter and spring 2021 quarters and will be adding new content to the CCWS webpage.

Initiatives already in development include:

Writing Workshops: The CWWG invites any graduate student pursuing a topic relevant to the Cold War or international history, broadly defined, to submit a paper, article draft, dissertation chapter, or any other work-in-progress. “Broadly defined” means that submissions covering a wide array of topics—traditional diplomacy, culture, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, science, technology, environment, domestic politics, and so on—would be welcome, as long as they have a connection to the Cold War and/or international history. These workshops will provide members with the opportunity to receive feedback in a supportive environment consisting of their peers (though professors are welcome to attend). Such workshops are also intended to provide a space for graduate students to meet, socialize, and reconnect during this very isolating period in their graduate school careers.

“This Day in Cold War History”: The CWWG is also working to encourage undergraduate involvement in the History department, the CCWS, and public history. The “This Day in Cold War History” short blog posts (intended primarily for undergraduate students, though posts from grad students are welcome), will be centered around dates and events significant to the Cold War. Participants will be offered the chance to write a short post centered around an event specific to the Cold War. Upon review, submissions will be uploaded to the website on the corresponding day (for example, a post dedicated to the launch of Sputnik will be posted on October 4th).

Apart from the writing workshops and “This Day in Cold War History,” the CWWG will explore possibilities for creating dialogue with CCWS alumni and participating in ongoing departmental efforts to help grad students navigate the academic job market and explore nonacademic career options.

The CWWG will launch on Saturday, February 27th with its very first workshop on Zoom. The workshop will take place from 2:00-4:00 pm, and will focus on a chapter draft from Jensen’s dissertation, entitled “WITCHIEs, Chickies, and Donut Dollies: The Women’s Rights Movement and American GIs.”

For more information about joining the Cold War Working Group, attending this workshop, or being added to the listserv so that you can stay informed of future events, please email Jensen or Webb at addisonmjensen@ucsb.edu and mattie@ucsb.edu.