Cultural diplomacy

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Interests, institutions, culture and foreign policy in the digital age

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Aims and scope: 

Cultural diplomacy is a topic of growing interest among scholars and policy makers alike. Leaders of great powers have traditionally used culture to influence publics across borders, still do it, from the US and Russia to China or Iran. Europe is no exception in this regard. European leaders have also used culture not only to support the internal cohesion of their nations, but also to advance their interests abroad, in conjunction with other foreign policy tools. The EU itself has also started to use culture to promote its strategic interests abroad as part of its external action. A major branch of public diplomacy, cultural diplomacy has certain interesting features that make it different from other forms of public diplomacy. 

This course will combine historical and contemporary empirical detail with an analytical perspective in order to understand how cultural diplomacy works. What makes cultural diplomacy different from other forms of public diplomacy? Why is good cultural policy almost always bad politics? What are the limitations of EU cultural diplomacy? I will cover key concepts such as culture, popular culture, public diplomacy, propaganda, exchange, and mutuality, and major cases of the use of art, sport, music, cinema and TV, video games, or educational exchanges, in public diplomacy. 

The course will start by analysing the cultural diplomacy of great powers such as the US or Russia, Japan, European nations such as the UK, France, Germany, Italy or Spain, and emerging powers such as China or Iran. It will also analyse the emerging public diplomacy of the EU in the fields of education, culture, youth and sports. It will analyse the role of international organizations such as UNESCO, and the changes that cultural diplomacy is experiencing in the digital age. By the end of this course students should be able to understand the key concepts and issues involved in cultural diplomacy; analyze the policies, institutions, achievements and limits of individual nations or organisations; and design a cultural diplomacy project.

Topics: 
1. Culture, public diplomacy and international relations. 2. What makes cultural diplomacy special? Cultural diplomacy vs other forms of public diplomacy. 3. Why does cultural diplomacy work or not work? Why is good cultural policy almost always bad politics? 4. The tools of cultural diplomacy. Art. Education. Science. Sports. Religion. Cinema and TV. Video games. Food. 5. Great powers of cultural diplomacy. The United States. Russia. Japan. 6. European powers of cultural diplomacy. The UK. France. Germany. Spain. Italy. 7. Emerging powers in cultural diplomacy. China. Iran. 8. The EU and cultural diplomacy. The Erasmus+ programme. 9. Education. 10. Culture. 11. Youth and sports. 12. Jean Monnet. 13. International organisations and cultural diplomacy. UNESCO. 14. Cultural diplomacy in the digital age.
Indicative reading: 
Arndt, R. (2005). The First Resort of Kings: American Cultural Diplomacy in the Twentieth Century. Potomac Books; Prevots, N. (2012). Dance for export: Cultural diplomacy and the Cold War. Wesleyan University Press; Gienow-Hecht, J. C., & Donfried, M. C. (Eds.). (2010). Searching for a cultural diplomacy (Vol. 6). Berghahn Books; Krenn, M.L. (2017). The History of United States Cultural Diplomacy: 1770 to the Present Day. Bloomsbury academic; Carta, C., and Higgott, R. (eds.) (2019). Cultural Diplomacy in Europe: Between the Domestic and the International. Palgrave Macmillan.
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