Skip to main content

Gender, Sexuality, and the Cold War
A Global Perspective

Editor(s): Philip E. Muehlenbeck

As Marko Dumančić writes in his introduction to Gender, Sexuality, and the Cold War, "despite the centrality of gender and sexuality in human relations, their scholarly study has played a secondary role in the history of the Cold War. . . . It is not an exaggeration to say that few were left unaffected by Cold War gender politics; even those who were in charge of producing, disseminating, and enforcing cultural norms were called on to live by the gender and sexuality models into which they breathed life." This underscores the importance of this volume, as here scholars tackle issues ranging from depictions of masculinity during the all-consuming space race, to the vibrant activism of Indian peasant women during this period, to the policing of sexuality inside the militaries of the world.

Gender, Sexuality, and the Cold War brings together a diverse group of scholars whose combined research spans fifteen countries across five continents, claiming a place as the first volume to examine how issues of gender and sexuality impacted both the domestic and foreign policies of states, far beyond the borders of the United States, during the tumult of the Cold War.

Table of Contents


Introduction: Hidden in Plain Sight: The Histories of Gender and Sexuality during the Cold War
Marko Dumančić

Part I: Sexuality

Faceless and Stateless: French Occupation Policy toward Women and Children in Postwar Germany (1945-1949)
Katherine Rossy

Patriarchy and Segregation: Policing Sexuality in US-Icelandic Military Relations
Valur Ingimundarson

Queering Subversives in Cold War Canada
Patrizia Gentile

"Nonreligious Activities": Sex, Anticommunism, and Progressive Christianity in Late Cold War Brazil
Benjamin A. Cowan

Manning the Enemy: US Perspectives on International Birthrates during the Cold War
Kathleen A. Tobin

Part II: Femininities

Indian Peasant Women's Activism in a Hot Cold War
Elisabeth Armstrong

The Medicalization of Childhood in Mexico during the Early Cold War, 1945-1960
Nichole Sanders

Africa's Kitchen Debate: Ghanaian Domestic Space in the Age of the Cold War
Jeffrey S. Ahlman

Mobilizing Women? State Feminisms in Communist Czechoslovakia and Socialist Egypt
May Hawas and Philip E. Muehlenbeck

A Vietnamese Woman Directs the War Story: Duc Hoan, 1937-2003
Karen Turner

Global Feminism and Cold War Paradigms: Women's International NGOs and the United Nations, 1970-1985
Karen Garner

Part III: Masculinities

"Men of the World" or "Uniformed Boys"? Hegemonic Masculinity and the British Army in the Era of the Korean War
Grace Huxford

Yuri Gagarin and Celebrity Masculinity in Soviet Culture
Erica L. Fraser

Biography of Editor(s)

Philip E. Muehlenbeck is a Professorial Lecturer in History at The George Washington University. He is the author of Betting on the Africans: John F. Kennedy's Courting of African Nationalist Leaders and editor of Religion and the Cold War and Race, Ethnicity, and the Cold War.


  • "The volume's global reach is impressive. It covers some fifteen nations drawn from both the global north and the global south, and it brings together an unusual array of international scholars. As a result, it promises to fill a significant gap in the scholarship by showing that the role of gender and sexuality in shaping domestic and foreign policy was not limited to the US but extended globally."
    Robert Corber, author of Cold War Femme: Lesbianism, National Identity, and Hollywood Cinema