In this project, students in Dr. Mellis’s “HIST-350B Cold War in Europe” course use oral histories and digital media to portray the experiences of an individual who lived during the Cold War. The project tasks students with using previously-conducted oral histories and additional material to examine the person’s life and present their experiences to digital audiences. The first projects were completed in the spring of 2019 using Sway, and focused on male and female athletes who lived behind the Iron Curtain of Communist Eastern Europe. These projects help to nuance the American narrative of the Cold War by highlighting the opportunities, in addition to the challenges, that people experienced under Communism. Future projects may analyze people who lived elsewhere during the Cold War. The Cold War Lives project enables students to gain experience: creating a research-based narrative, selecting relevant information from a large amount of material, understanding the value and challenges of using oral histories, and perhaps most importantly, presenting the information in an engaging and effective manner to people who are unfamiliar with the Cold War.
Sarah Johns and Morgana Olbrich
We will argue that Communism left long lasting effects on the ways in which patriotism was perceived and executed through labor. Specifically we will look into the ways in which laborers, namely athletes, both intentionally and unintentionally used their work to gain privileges.