Historian of Culture, Business, and Technology

I'm Sven Kube

 I hold a doctorate in Atlantic History from Florida International University (FIU) and study subjects at the nexus of cultural, economic, and technological trends. Transnational and transcontinental in approach, my research centers on the global dissemination of American cultural content and commodities during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. I am specifically interested in popular music as a force in Cold War competition and capitalism as a catalyst of cultural evolution.

My research illuminates the technological and economic factors behind the dissemination of American popular culture during the Cold War era. Challenging influential studies that render the proliferation of pop music as a triumph of cultural diplomacy over the isolationist doctrines of Eastern European governments, it reexamines the process through the lens of cultural commerce. It explains how the state-owned record company of communist East Germany focused on classical music for export purposes and, concurrently, advanced the import of chart hits from the capitalist sphere, thereby engineering an assisted takeover of its walled-in home market by star performers such as Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jackson, and Madonna. My research highlights the conditions for cultural production, underscores the commodity aspects of pop music, and foregrounds the agendas of communist actors to explain a business model that served as the commercial foundation of creative industries across the Eastern Bloc.

Million Record Sales
Thousand Observation Points
Year Period