Cold War Public Diplomacy: United States Cultural Battles Abroad
Dr Victoria Phillips
Because the Cold War was a series of ideological battles for the “hearts and minds of mankind,” culture became a weapon. This seminar examines the United States’ export of its ideals to counter communism abroad. Although the course focuses on American-led projects, soft power, and psychological warfare, the reach was global and thus offers the opportunity to examine nations world-wide. The class opens with an examination of American political power from the 19th-century’s claims about the frontier through the American Century and Cold War conceptions of “truth,” “propaganda, " and "informational" practices. The intersection of American governmental branches and clandestine operations with international private foundations, the press, advertising agencies, universities, corporations, and private individuals unpack the complexity of export operations. The course continues to explore cultural diplomacy through radio, music, modernist art, dance, literature, books, magazines, film, television, architecture, and sports. It examines the power of race, gender, and religion. The concept of soft power is challenged by its intersection with military operations, hot wars, or the threat of nuclear attacks in case studies of Korea, Berlin, Cuba, and Vietnam. Cultural exports are examined in the context of secondary source readings and primary sources including conventional archival documents as well as examples of art, film, and performances.