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History of Science Society 2019: Global Histories of Socialist Science and Medicine

The panel explores different cases of the transnational scientific communication and cooperation involving the two competing Cold War blocks as well as the agents in-between. Socialist countries deemed the transnational and, in the context of the Cold War, trans-ideological scientific communication necessary as a means of acquiring technology while at the same time seeing it as an opportunity to showcase the successes of the socialist science and medicine, thus potentially influencing the Third world. Going beyond the notion of one-way transfer of ideas and technology, the papers will address the nuanced strategies employed in specific attempts to (re)position socialist science and medicine globally: from Michael DeBakey’s surgery-as-diplomacy efforts aimed at a better understanding of the Soviet Union and China by the United States, Hungarian socialist engagement in international health linking the Second and Third world, and an unlikely Yugoslav-American alliance aimed at containing the spread of Lysenkoism in the 1950s.

With Dora Vargha, Vedran Duancic, Heidi Morefield, and Heidi Tworek (chair)