Marsha Siefert is a cultural and communication historian. One area of her research addresses how developments in communications technology have influenced the way in which cultural content has been organized, transmitted, packaged, and interpreted.  Recent publications include an analysis of twentieth-century European audiovisual policy and American culture (2007) and a history of telegraph communication in the Russian and Ottoman empires (2011). A second area is the historical dynamics of cultural evaluation, culture industries and their political dimensions, which she explored in the Soviet context in Mass Culture and Perestroika in the Soviet Union (1991), a joint project with Russian scholars that won a prize from the American Association of Publishers; more recently, she edited Extending the Borders of Russian History (2003).  She has co-edited book series with Longman Publishers and Oxford University Press, and is currently co-editor of Historical Studies in Eastern Europe and Eurasia for Central European University Press.

Project Summary

This project explores Hollywood’s attempts to co-produce films with the Soviet Union during the Cold War.  Such "joint productions" were a part of the Cultural Exchange agreement and its biannual renewals from 1958.  Although only one such co-production was demonstrate the fine lines between cooperation, censorship and cooptation; the complex role of governments in sponsoring and monitoring such efforts; the economic strategies employed in seeking advantage; and the stakes and steps of a unique form of cultural diplomacy.

Major Publications

  • Siefert,Marsha, “Meeting at a Far Meridian: American-Soviet Cultural Diplomacy on Film in the Early Cold War,” in Patryk Babiracki and Kenyon Zimmer, eds., Cold War Crossings: International Travel and Exchange in the Soviet Bloc, 1940s-1960s (College Station, TX: Texas A&M Press, 2014),166-209. ).
  • Siefert, Marsha, “Co-Producing Cold War Culture: East-West Film-Making and Cultural Diplomacy,” in Peter Romijn, Giles Scott-Smith and Joes Segal, eds., Divided Dreamworlds? The Cultural Cold War East and West (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press), 73-94
  • Siefert, Marsha, “From Cold War to Wary Peace: American Culture in the USSR and Russia,” in Alexander Stephan, ed. The Americanization of Europe: Culture, Diplomacy and Anti-Americanism After 1945 (New York: Berghahn Books, 2006), 185-217. Paperback reprint 2007.