Space historian takes on the Cold War at the Bruce Museum
GREENWICH — A space historian and professor from Fordham University will harken back to the days of the U.S.-Soviet space race as he speaks next week at the Bruce Museum as part of its “Hot Art in a Cold War” exhibition.
Professor Asif Siddiqi will explore the imagery of Soviet cosmic achievements at the height of the Cold War — manifested especially in magazines and posters — as a way to explore the tensions between openness and secrecy that characterized the Soviet space program. The talk will run from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday.
“Dr. Siddiqi specializes in the history of modern Russia and the history of science,” said Kate Dzikiewicz, the museum’s Paul Griswold Howes Fellow. “And his expertise in the Soviet space race is the perfect union between the two. He’s written an array of award-winning books on Soviet space history, including many that we used to research the ‘Hot Art in a Cold War’ exhibition.
“On Tuesday, he will discuss the delicate interplay between the secrecy that shrouded Soviet military,” Dzikiewicz said, “and technological pursuits and the desire to declare the victories of their space program openly across the Soviet Union and the world.”
Siddiqi’s most recent book is on the origins and evolution of ideas about space exploration in Russian and Soviet culture. The book, “The Red Rockets’ Glare: Spaceflight and the Soviet Imagination, 1857-1957,” is based on extensive archival research in Russia. It is the first academic work on the birth of Sputnik.
His first book was the two-volume “Sputnik and the Soviet Space Challenge” and “The Soviet Space Race with Apollo,” both published in 2003. These volumes, dealing primarily with events during the Cold War, were the first histories of the Soviet space program based on Russian sources available after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Originally published as a single volume, “Challenge to Apollo: The Soviet Union and the Space Race, 1945-1974,” it was named as one of the five best books ever published on space exploration by the Wall Street Journal.
“He seems the perfect person to talk about ‘Hot Art in a Cold War,’” said Scott Smith, marketing and communications director at the Bruce.
Reservations for the event can be made by visiting the Bruce Museum website. Advance registration is free for Bruce members and students with valid identification and $15 for nonmembers. At the door, admission is $10 for members and $25 for nonmembers.
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