How do we define, and who engages in, cultural diplomacy? What differentiates cultural diplomacy from propaganda and how does it relate to public diplomacy? Which tools are effectively employed when reaching out to foreign audiences in propagating one’s nation?
U.S. cultural diplomacy reached its pinnacle during the Cold War when soft power developed into an effective tool countering communist propaganda and American popular culture spread across the globe. Since then the scope of cultural diplomacy has been reduced significantly.
This course will reflect upon the image of the U.S. especially in Germany during the Cold War until today. We will discuss past and current public/cultural diplomacy strategies and draw upon practical examples and projects. We will visit cultural institutions and engage in discussions with practitioners and guest speakers on past and new tools in propagating mutual understanding. Students will develop presentations analyzing iconic American cultural images and products which have shaped their own view of the U.S and that of previous generations. They will become a “practitioner” of cultural diplomacy by drafting a blog entry based on their presentation. Some class time will be spent on refining writing skills and engaging in peer-critique. The most creative contributions will be reviewed for publication on the American Studies Blog. An e-reader will be made available (details will follow).
Please note: Student enrollment is limited to 20. Students are encouraged to attend all sessions, participate in the excursions and be somewhat flexible should sessions have to be rescheduled due to the instructor’s professional obligations.