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An online event with Prof Theodora Dragostinova (Ohio State University), in collaboration with the Centre for Southeast European Studies, University College London

In the late 1970s-early 1980s, small Bulgaria launched an ambitious international cultural program centered on its celebration on its 1300th anniversary: exhibitions, concerts, museum and monument openings, book readings, film screenings, and other mass cultural events dominated public life at home and abroad. The cultural offensive of the small socialist state spread to the Balkans, Western Europe and the United States, various countries in the “developing world,” as well as Bulgarian émigré communities throughout the globe. Focusing on Bulgaria’s cultural outreach with India, Mexico, and Nigeria, this talk demonstrates the existence of vibrant partnerships along an East-South axis in the context of the global Cold War, explains the importance of cultural diplomacy in the late socialist period, and challenge notions of the seventies as a period of doom and gloom. Instead, when viewed from the margins, 1970s appeared as a time of measured optimism when the agendas of the East, West, and the Global South dynamically interacted and surprisingly empowered actors on the periphery.

All welcome- this seminar is free to attend but advance registration is required.