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Searching for a Cultural Diplomacy

Searching for a Cultural Diplomacy

Jessica C. E. Gienow-Hecht
Mark C. Donfried
Copyright Date: 2010
Edition: NED - New edition, 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 278
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  • Book Info
    Searching for a Cultural Diplomacy
    Book Description:

    Recent studies on the meaning of cultural diplomacy in the twentieth century often focus on the United States and the Cold War, based on the premise that cultural diplomacy was a key instrument of foreign policy in the nation's effort to contain the Soviet Union. As a result, the term "cultural diplomacy" has become one-dimensional, linked to political manipulation and subordination and relegated to the margin of diplomatic interactions. This volume explores the significance of cultural diplomacy in regions other than the United States or "western" countries, that is, regions that have been neglected by scholars so far-Eastern Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. By examining cultural diplomacy in these regions, the contributors show that the function of information and exchange programs differs considerably from area to area depending on historical circumstances and, even more importantly, on the cultural mindsets of the individuals involved.

    eISBN: 978-1-84545-994-9
    Subjects: Political Science, History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. List of Contributors
    (pp. ix-xii)
  5. Introduction.: Searching for a Cultural Diplomacy

    • What Are We Searching For? Culture, Diplomacy, Agents and the State
      (pp. 3-12)
      Jessica C. E. Gienow-Hecht

      In the past fifteen years, a growing body of studies has investigated the meaning of cultural diplomacy in the twentieth century. While much of this research continues to focus on the United States and the cold war,¹ some historians have begun to look at other “Western” countries, such as Germany.² Much of the US-centered research is based on the premise that cultural diplomacy became a key instrument of foreign policy in the nation’s effort to contain the Soviet Union. As a result, the term ”cultural diplomacy” has assumed a one-dimensional meaning linked to political manipulation and subordination, and it has...

    • The Model of Cultural Diplomacy: Power, Distance, and the Promise of Civil Society
      (pp. 13-30)
      Jessica C. E. Gienow-Hecht and Mark C. Donfried

      Cultural diplomacy has become an increasingly perplexing and controversial term, one that is often used interchangeably with “public diplomacy,” “cultural exchange,” and “propaganda.”¹ The confusion arises from the fact that cultural diplomacy is very different from other sorts of diplomatic interactions. It is not government-to-government communication but, even in its strictest sense, communication between governments and foreign people. Cultural diplomacy, according to the 1959 definition of the US State Department, entails “the direct and enduring contact between peoples of different nations” designed to “help create a better climate of international trust and understanding in which official relations can operate.”² Thus...

  6. I. Cultural Relations and the Soviet Union

    • Chapter 1 VOKS: The Third Dimension of Soviet Foreign Policy
      (pp. 33-49)
      Jean-François Fayet

      Beginning in the early 1920s, the Soviet Union adopted classic instruments of foreign policy—diplomatic and consular systems—and founded an international network of political parties, namely the Communist International. In addition, however, an entire network of so-called “cultural” organizations was implemented. The purpose of this network was to attract members of intellectual professions and the progressive bourgeoisie from Western nation-states. Far from arousing revolutionary vocations, as was the role of political propaganda, this cultural diplomacy was aimed at the dissemination of a positive and controlled image of Soviet life. The goal of this mission was to allow the Soviet...

    • Chapter 2 Mission Impossible? Selling Soviet Socialism to Americans, 1955–1958
      (pp. 50-72)
      Rósa Magnúsdóttir

      In 1955, two years after Stalin’s death, the Soviet All-Union Society for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries (VOKS) stated that the year had “marked the revival of Soviet-American cultural exchanges.”¹ Indeed, 1955 saw several mutual exchanges of delegations and a growing number of American tourists in the Soviet Union—who “in many cases were useful in spreading true information about our country in the United States.” The Soviet side was pleased to note the “steadily rising interest of American society in the life and culture of the Soviet people” and mainly credited this growing interest to the recent success of...

  7. II. Cultural Diplomacy in Central Europe

    • Chapter 3 Hungarian Cultural Diplomacy 1957–1963: Echoes of Western Cultural Activity in a Communist Country
      (pp. 75-108)
      Anikó Macher

      This essay discusses Hungarian cultural diplomacy during the era of the consolidation of the regime that followed the Hungarian revolution of 1956 and ended with three events of major importance for the country: the last great wave of de-Stalinization of 1962–63, the second amnesty of imprisoned revolutionaries, and the end of debate on the so-called “Hungarian question” at the United Nations.

      Historians working on post-1956 Hungarian foreign policy tend to underscore its ambiguous nature: how did the Hungarian communist leadership, in spite of its unquestioning loyalty to the USSR, have enough room for maneuver to serve its national interests?...

    • Chapter 4 Catholics in Ostpolitik? Networking and Nonstate Diplomacy in the Bensberger Memorandum, 1966–1970
      (pp. 109-134)
      Annika Frieberg

      In March 1968, a Catholic lay group called the Bensberger Circle published a document on West German–Polish relations. The Bensberger memorandum emphasized the importance of a West German Catholic initiative to improve contacts with Poland. Written from a Catholic perspective, the memorandum promoted the recognition of the Oder-Neisse line and criticized the Adenauer government’s passive stance toward West Germany’s eastern neighbors. The memorandum primarily attempted to influence public opinion in West Germany and encourage the overcoming of an antagonistic and difficult past, but it was directed specifically to the Polish Catholic Church. The Bensberger Circle came to assume a...

  8. III. Cultural Diplomacy in the Middle East

    • Chapter 5 International Rivalry and Culture in Syria and Lebanon under the French Mandate
      (pp. 137-161)
      Jennifer Dueck

      In April 1940, the celebrated French orientalist Henri Laoust drafted an influential note that was to appear on the desks of many officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for years to come. This note stated that the Arabic language was emerging to take its rightful place among the “great languages of civilization.” This fact, Laoust wrote, would necessitate a profound alteration in the foundations of France’s cultural policy toward Arab countries. Two points in particular stand out in his missive. First, the Arabic and French languages should not be seen as competitors, but rather as close associates in a...

    • Chapter 6 The United States and the Limits of Cultural Diplomacy in the Arab Middle East, 1945–1957
      (pp. 162-186)
      James R. Vaughan

      In the dozen years between the end of World War II and the proclamation of the Eisenhower Doctrine, cultural diplomacy came to play an increasingly prominent role in the conduct of foreign relations in the Middle East. A growing number of governments created or expanded cultural diplomacy programs, and academics, artists, sportsmen, publishers, broadcasters, and film stars found themselves cast in new ambassadorial roles. Here, the cultural diplomacy program of the United States between 1945 and 1957 was in many respects a period of lost opportunity. In 1945 much of the Arab world was fertile ground for cultural diplomacy, yet...

  9. IV. Civil Society and Cultural Diplomacy in Japan

    • Chapter 7 Difficulties Faced by Native Japan Interpreters: Nitobe Inazô (1862–1933) and His Generation
      (pp. 189-211)
      Yuzo Ota

      Cultural diplomacy may be described as any official and unofficial undertaking to promote a national culture among foreigners, when performed by those who identify themselves as part of the national culture at hand. Even in this very broad sense, cultural diplomacy remains a relatively new concept in Japan, having been first employed only in the second half of the nineteenth century, after the period of seclusion that lasted from 1640 to the 1850s.

      In Japan before this period, it seems that there was a lack of interest in promoting Japanese culture abroad or to foreigners in Japan. Those who are...

    • Chapter 8 “Germany in Europe”, “Japan and Asia”: National Commitments to Cultural Relations within Regional Frameworks
      (pp. 212-240)
      Maki Aoki-Okabe, Yoko Kawamura and Toichi Makita

      This essay examines the historical commitment of nations to the promotion of international cultural relations within regional frameworks. Historically, state rulers and nations have made efforts to foster international cultural relations; here, these efforts are termed “ICR policy.” In the modern era of nation-states, one major pattern of ICR policy has been cultural diplomacy (sometimes also called public diplomacy): the construction of a “national culture” by projecting such culture outward. During the latter half of the twentieth century, a newer trend of interactive ICR policy within different regional frameworks began to emerge.

      Region denotes here a group that consists of...

  10. Index
    (pp. 241-265)