The Untold Cold War: Stories Beyond the Superpowers


The Cold War was an ideological and geopolitical conflict, impacting nearly every corner of the world from the end of the Second World War until the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991. Whilst traditional narratives of the Cold War tend to examine key events through the lens of the superpowers, our course instead evaluates agency of actors beyond Washington, D.C. and Moscow.  

We will challenge conventional assumptions about agency, change, and relationships of the Cold War by exploring the foreign policy of Egypt’s President Nasser, apartheid movements being mistaken for communism, women’s peace movements, Atoms for Peace in the ‘Third World,’ scientific competition in the Arctic, Children of Chernobyl in Cuba, and more. Through these cases, we will explore the impact made by actors often missed traditional scholarship on the Cold War, question why such stories are often overlooked, and discover how alternative analyses of the Cold War provide new insight into understanding the modern challenges of international relations. 

This course is part of the Inspiring Oxford summer school.

Programme details

Seminars meet each weekday morning, with afternoons free for course-related field trips, individual study, or exploring the many places of interest in and around the city.

Our first session breaks down traditional assumptions about the Cold War and the questions that such assumptions leave unanswered. We will consider early Cold War actors beyond ‘East and West’ which influenced dynamics in the aftermath of the Second World War and contributed to heightened tensions. 

On Tuesday we will explore the Cold War in the Middle East and North Africa, paying close attention to how local actors exercised agency and ‘hedged’ between the superpowers.  

This session will explore the nuclear Cold War from diverse angles. We will investigate ‘Atoms for Peace’ in the ‘Third World,’ scientific cooperation in the Arctic, how nuclear weapons ended up in Cuba, Soviet nuclear espionage in Oxfordshire, amongst other case studies. 

On Tuesday we will investigate the role of women’s peace movements in influencing Cold War dynamics, the instrumentalization of maternalism, and ‘Kitchen Debates’ as a means of comparing the morality of Communism and Capitalism 

On our final day, we will explore how the Cold War ended in Eastern Europe and the so-called ‘Third World.’ As a final exercise, we will revisit our definitions of the Cold War prior to the course and compare them to how we understand the Cold War after exploring the traditionally untold stories in scholarship. This will also be students’ opportunities to share their own views about the traditionally untold Cold War and discuss the impact of the actors and events on Cold War dynamics/outcomes with the group. 


Description Costs
Fee option 1 (single en suite accom and meals per person) £2285.00
Fee option 2 (single standard accom and meals per person) £1955.00
Fee option 3 (twin en suite accom and meals per person) £2135.00
Fee option 4 (no accom; incl lunch and dinner per person) £1600.00


Please note there are no sources of funding (scholarships, bursaries, etc) available for applicants.


All fees are charged on a per week, per person basis.

Please be aware that all payments made via non-UK credit/debit cards and bank accounts are subject to the exchange rate on the day they are processed.

Payment terms

If enrolling online: full payment by credit/debit card at the time of booking.

If submitting an enrolment form: full payment online by credit/debit card or via bank transfer within 30 days of invoice date.

Extended stay fee

Participants staying multiple, consecutive weeks will be charged an additional bed and breakfast fee for the cost of the Saturday night between courses.

Cancellations and refunds

1. Cancellation by you

Participants who wish to cancel must inform the Programme Administrator in writing: by email to, or by post to Inspiring Oxford, OUDCE, 1 Wellington Square, OXFORD, OX1 2JA, UK.

The following cancellation and refund policy applies in all cases:

  • Cancellation within 14 days of online enrolment / payment of fees – full refund of all fees paid. 

  • Cancellations received up to and including 30 April 2024 – OUDCE will retain an administration fee of £100 per week booked; all other fees paid will be refunded.
  • Cancellations received between 1-31 May 2024 – OUDCE will retain 60% of the fees paid; the remaining 40% of fees paid will be refunded.
  • Cancellations received on and after 1 June 2024 - no refunds will be made under any circumstances.

Where course fees have been paid in currencies other than pounds sterling, refunds will be subject to the exchange rate on the day they are processed.

2. Cancellation by us

Where there is good reason, OUDCE reserves the right to cancel a course by giving you notice in writing at any time before the course is due to start. In these cases, we will endeavour to offer a transfer to another available course if practical and acceptable to you, subject to payment or refund of any difference in course fees. Alternatively, we will refund the course fees that you have already paid. If we cancel a course, our liability is limited to the fees that we have received from you; this means that we will not compensate you for any pre-booked travel costs or any other expenses incurred. The status of this course will be reviewed on 1 May 2024. If it is likely that the course may be cancelled, anyone affected will be notified by email within 7 days; if you have not heard from OUDCE by 8 May 2024, you should assume that your course will be running. You may wish to delay finalising your travel arrangements until after this date.

OUDCE reserves the right to cancel a course at short notice in exceptional circumstances that would prevent the course from being delivered e.g. tutor illness. In these rare instances, and if we are unable to find a replacement tutor, we will notify you as soon as possible and arrange a transfer to another available Inspiring Oxford course. If we cancel a course, our liability is limited to the fees that we have received from you; this means that we will not compensate you for any pre-booked travel costs or any other expenses incurred.

Where course fees have been paid in currencies other than pounds sterling, refunds will be subject to the exchange rate on the day they are processed.

3. Travel insurance

All participants must purchase travel insurance to cover the programme fee, travel costs, and any other expenses incurred. OUDCE cannot be held responsible for any costs you may incur in relation to travel or accommodation bookings as a result of a course cancellation, or if you are unable to attend the course for any other reason. 


Mrs Anna Davis


Anna J. Davis (née Davidson) is a DPhil (PhD) Researcher at the Oxford School of Global and Area Studies at the University of Oxford. Her work explores how states construct and express their identities by ascribing different and nuanced meanings to materiality, with a specialisation in the Post-Soviet region. In 2023, Anna was selected as a Grímsson Fellow by the Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson Centre in cooperation with the Arctic Circle Secretariat, UW Iceland, Háskóli Íslands, Háskólinn á Akureyri, Reykjavik University and the biotechnology company Kerecis. She is also an Associate Fellow of Advance HE (formerly the UK Higher Education Academy). 


At Oxford University, Anna teaches Area Studies Research Methods, International Politics, Cold War International Relations, and Russian and East European Studies. At Oxford, she is also Convenor of REES Discussion Group and of REESearch Café for DPhils as well as Researcher at the Oxford Belarus Observatory. Previously, Anna worked as an OIES-Aramco Fellow at The Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, conducting a project entitled, “The Role of Nuclear Energy in the Global Energy Transition.”  

Teaching methods

Participants will be taught in seminar groups of up to 16 people, teaching methods used during this course may include:

  • Short lectures/Presentations
  • Physical handouts
  • Seminars/group discussions
  • Written exercises in-class

Assessment methods

There are no assessments for this course.


The deadline for registration has been extended to 17 June 2024. Please be aware that payment deadlines may also change.

Single accommodation may be booked online by clicking on the “Book now” button in the “Course details” box at the top right-hand side of the course page. 

If you would like a twin en suite room, please send us a completed enrolment form that names the other course participant you will be sharing with. Please note these rooms have limited availability.

If you experience any difficulties enrolling online please contact the Programme Administrator at

Level and demands

Inspiring Oxford is aimed at non-specialists: no prior knowledge is required, and classes are pitched at an introductory level. The courses are designed for an international audience aged 18 and over.


During your course you will stay in typical Oxford student accommodation at Brasenose College, in the heart of the city in buildings overlooked by the iconic Radcliffe Camera. Please note that bedrooms are modestly-furnished and do not have air-conditioning. 

You can find out more about Brasenose by visiting their website.

The following types of accommodation are available:

  • Single en suite
  • Twin en suite: shared between participants that apply to the programme together
  • Standard single: bathrooms are shared between, on average, four participants
  • a non-residential basis whereby participants can take classes and have lunch and dinner at Brasenose, having arranged their own accommodation elsewhere.

    Non-residential participants are encouraged to attend all aspects of the academic and social programme, and they have equal access to Brasenose as residential participants.

En suite rooms include private bathroom facilities (shower, washbasin and toilet).