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Accepted Paper:

Dear Comrade: The curious Cold War correspondence between V. Gordon Childe and Frederick G. G. Rose in 1956 (Rose Archive)  
Valerie Munt (Flinders University)

Paper short abstract:

In 1956 two Australian Marxist scientists briefly communicated with each other from abroad. One was in London, the other had recently arrived behind the Iron Curtain in the GDR.

Paper long abstract:

The first was Vere Gordon Childe (1892-1957), already a world famous archaeologist and author. The other was a virtually unknown anthropologist, apart from his controversial appearance before the Royal Commission into Espionage in Australia 1954-1955. His name was Frederick G. G. Rose (1915- 1991). He was an English anthropologist who had graduated from Cambridge University in 1937 and travelled to the far north of Australia to study marriage, kinship and the social organization of the Anindilyakwa people of Groote Eylandt. In his letter to V Gordon Childe on 24th Sept 1956 regarding his planned lectures, Rose requested a list of selected reading representative of contemporary schools of thought, to which he received a very odd reply. Both men had romantic notions about the USSR and both had their dreams about a "socialist heaven" crushed by the Soviet orthodoxies of the academy. This examination of their brief correspondence raises questions about the impact on their lives of contemporary Soviet scholarship and political forces in the Soviet bloc and in the West. Like Rose, Childe's academic career in Australia was stymied by conservative university authorities and Australia's military spies, as a new biography explains. Questions surrounding his death in the Blue Mountains in New South Wales still linger. Despite his Marxist ideological background and popularity among archaeologists from communist countries Childe was sadly considered in a pejorative way as a "bourgeois archaeologist" by some in the USSR which explains his complex reception by the Soviets, his final rejection of their science, and the dramatic denouement of his "romance" with the USSR in 1956, the year before his death. Rose had left it too late for guidance from this chosen mentor but despite being side-lined by the Soviet academy, he persisted with his own style of Marxist anthropological analysis, however his masterpiece of innovative field research: "The Classification of Kin . . . " (1960) was never published in the Soviet Union.

Panel P03b
Collaborations and Confrontations during the Cold War and Into the Future
  Session 1 Friday 10 June, 2022, -