Cold war social science and the development of the human sciences in Europe and India

'Cold war social science' en de ontwikkeling van de menswetenschappen in Europa en India
Start - End 
2015 - 2016 (ongoing)



In the period that followed the Second World War, the United States saw an unprecedented growth of the social sciences and humanities caused by a massive injection of government funding into the universities. The government had a specific goal in mind: to promote and support research that was of import to the American national interest and security. Scholars were expected to develop, illustrate, and promote Cold War ideology. The United States stood for ‘freedom’, ‘democracy’ and ‘justice’; the Soviet Union represented ‘tyranny’, ‘oppression’ and ‘the totalitarian state’; and the rest of the world had to follow the American way. This “ideological offensive,” as government representatives called it, was considered as important to the national security strategy as the nuclear bomb.

For decades, Cold War America consciously spread its academic model and ideology to the rest of the world. American foundations became active in funding research and societal projects in the Third World. Often funded and inspired by the CIA, Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, and smaller organizations supported projects that supposedly sought to bring freedom, equality, and social justice to these countries. In reality, they aimed to promote Cold War ideology and the American national interest by funding individual scholars, research institutes, and non-governmental organizations. Governments in these parts of the world also learned from the U.S. as to how to direct scientific research and higher education along particular lines. Thus, the American foundations and local government agencies succeeded at shaping a generation of academics and activists subservient to some ideological agenda or the other.

While the emerging domain of Cold War Studies has looked at the development of Cold War Social Science in the United States, little research has been done on how this impacted other parts of the world. This project is a preliminary study of the impact of Cold War Social Science on the social sciences and humanities in two parts of the world: Europe and India.