Jennifer Anderson’s Propaganda and Persuasion Book Launch @ Diefenbunker: Canada's Cold War Museum, Ottawa [12 October]

Jennifer Anderson’s Propaganda and Persuasion Book Launch

19:00 - 21:00

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Diefenbunker: Canada's Cold War Museum
3929 Carp Road, Ottawa, Ontario K0A 1L0
Thursday October 12, 7:00 — 9:00 pm

Please join the University of Manitoba Press and the Diefenbunker Museum for the launch of Jennifer Anderson’s Propaganda and Persuasion. The evening includes a special presentation by Dr. Anderson, followed by a reception. Books are available for purchase at the event and in the Museum gift shop after.

Light refreshments provided. Cash bar.

Cost: Free.
Optional 30-minute highlights tour at 6:45 available for $6.00.

University of Manitoba Press, 2017

The Cold War seemed rather passé and even quaint a few years ago. Today perception management, soft diplomacy and cultural persuasion are breaking news, if one is to judge by twitter hashtags and newspaper headlines. Arguments about the truth and “fake news”, backroom conversations at embassies, and theatrical performances in politics have rather surreally gone mainstream.

In her new book, Propaganda and Persuasion, Jennifer Anderson offers us a case study of manipulated facts and distorted news from another era. During the early Cold War, thousands of Canadians attended events organized by the Canadian-Soviet Friendship Society (CSFS), and subscribed to its publications. Between 1949 and 1960, the CSFS aimed its message at an audience of ‘progressive’ leftists in North America, hoping to convince others that the USSR was indeed the epitome of an egalitarian and enlightened state. Attempting to soften, define and redirect the antagonistic narratives of the day, the CSFS story is one of propaganda and persuasion. Although scholarship on postwar Canada has grown, the CSFS led by Dyson Carter from 1949-1960 has received relatively little attention from historians. Moreover, few historians have noted the important role played by the Soviet All-Union Society for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries (VOKS) in encouraging and supporting the Canadian left.

This study looks at the CSFS as a blend of social and political activism, where gender, class, ethnicity, linked communities and ideology had significance. It deals with an example of foreign influence in Canada, as the events and performances staged by the CSFS were part of a larger perception management campaign arranged with materials and in-kind support from Moscow. This book is based on archival sources previously unavailable to researchers. In addition, oral history interviews have been used to explore personal narratives and interpretations of the early Cold War.

About the Author

Jennifer Anderson has a Masters in Central/East European and Russian Area Studies and a PhD in Canadian history, both from Carleton University. She lived and worked in Ukraine and Belgium before beginning her career as an archivist (with stints as a museum curator) in Ottawa-Gatineau.

Jennifer is the author of Propaganda and Persuasion: the Cold War and the Canadian-Soviet Friendship Society, published by the University of Manitoba Press in May 2017.
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