Online seminar #14: Winning Women's Hearts and Minds: Selling Cold War Culture in the US and USSR

Diana Cucuz in conversation with TBA

PoSoCoMeS Online Seminar Series, session #14

Monday, 3 October, 2022 5.30 pm CET

Zoom link:

Meeting ID: 984 7081 5842

Access code: ykwL3f

At the monthly PoSoCoMeS seminar, TBA discusses how a glossy Russian-language magazine used to influence Russians, with Diana Cucuz, author of the book: "Winning Women's Hearts and Minds: Selling Cold War Culture in the US and the USSR" (University of Toronto Press, 2022).

This book discusses how the magazine Amerika, produced by the United States Information Agency (USIA), America's first peacetime propaganda organization, was used to influence Russians, and convince women in particular that an American-style consumer culture and conservative gender norms could better their lives. Winning Women's Hearts and Minds relies on USIA archives, issues of Amerika, and American women's magazines such as the Ladies' Home Journal to show how, during the postwar period, USIA officials deployed idealized images of American women as happy, fulfilled, and feminine wives, mothers, and homemakers. This study analyses how Amerika was used to appeal to Russian women. Portrayed in the US media as "babushkas," they were considered unfeminine, overworked, and deprived of consumer goods and services by a repressive regime. Diana Cucuz provides a gendered analysis of the USIA and of Amerika, whose propaganda campaign relied heavily on postwar conservative gender norms and images of domestic contentment to convey positive messages about the American way of life in the hopes of undermining that Soviet regime.

See further details at the publisher's website:,diana-cucuz-9781487503772

Diana Cucuz was born and raised in Hamilton, Canada and received her PhD in History at York University, in Toronto. Her main research interests stem from her close proximity to the U.S.-Canadian border as well as her Eastern European descent. Her areas of specialty consist of Cold War American, women’s and cultural history, and the intersections between foreign and domestic politics. She currently teaches as an adjunct professor in the Department of History at Ryerson University and the University of Toronto. This is her first book.