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ABSTRACT This essay examines ways in which American social science in the late twentieth century was—and was not—a creature of the Cold War. It identifies important work by historians that calls into question the assumption that all social science during the Cold War amounts to “Cold War social science.” These historians attribute significant agency to social scientists, showing how they were enmeshed in both long‐running disciplinary discussions and new institutional environments. Key trends in this scholarship include a broadening historical perspective to see social scientists in the Cold War as responding to the ideas of their scholarly predecessors; identifying the institutional legacies of World War II; and examining in close detail the products of extramural—especially governmental—funding. The result is a view of social science in the Cold War in which national security concerns are relevant, but with varied and often unexpected impacts on intellectual life.
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