Springe direkt zu Inhalt

Talk by Giles Scott-Smith (Leiden University) on "Transatlantic Cultural Relations, Soft Power, and the Role of US Cultural Diplomacy in Europe"

Jul 06, 2020 | 06:15 PM
Giles Scott-Smith

Giles Scott-Smith


Giles Scott-Smith will give a talk on his article "Transatlantic Cultural Relations, Soft Power, and the Role of US Cultural Diplomacy in Europe". This article considers the cultural relationship in the transatlantic space from the perspective of US cultural diplomacy. It interprets cultural diplomacy as the mobilization of soft power resources in the support of foreign policy goals, as distinct from the cultural relations pursued by non-state actors. During the second half of the twentieth century, a large-scale investment by US cultural diplomacy was aimed at developing and nurturing the cultural ties with Europe, as part of the wider integration of (Western, later also Eastern) Europe into a US-led world order. This involved combining the unique outreach possibilities provided by the appeal and excellence of US cultural producers with an anti-communist agenda that sought to reverse the negative perception of the United States as culturally ‘barren’. This effort declined following the end of the Cold War, since it was no longer considered important. The shock of 9/11 once again directed attention to how the US portrays itself abroad, reviving interest in cultural diplomacy and generating a wide range of programmes to (re-)engage with European publics, particularly minorities. The article begins by introducing the concept of cultural diplomacy, and examining its uses during the Cold War. It then evaluates the specific cultural tools that have been used to establish transatlantic connections in the wake of 9/11. It concludes by considering the growing significance of the ‘transnational transatlantic’ for developing goal-driven ties between the US and Europe across a range of issues.

Speaker bio:

Prof. dr. Giles Scott-Smith holds the Roosevelt Chair in New Diplomatic History at Leiden University.

Giles Scott-Smith (1968) received his BA in European and Asian Studies from the University of Ulster in 1988, and an MA in International Relations at Sussex University in 1993. He then moved to Lancaster University for a Ph.D in International Relations, graduating in 1998. He joined the Roosevelt Study Center in Middelburg, The Netherlands, in January 2002 as a post-doctoral researcher, and was given a permanent position as senior researcher in January 2005. During 2008-2012 he was also an Associate Professor at University College Roosevelt (Honours College, Utrecht University) in Middelburg, running the International Relations track. From 2009-2018 he held the Ernst van der Beugel Chair in the Diplomatic History of Atlantic Cooperation since WWII at Leiden University. In January 2017 he was appointed by Leiden University to become the academic director of the Roosevelt Institute for American Studies in Middelburg, The Netherlands. 
In 2017 he became founding editor of the new journal Diplomatica: A Journal of Diplomacy and Society together with Ken Weisbrode. The journal is closely associated with the New Diplomatic History network.

Research interests:

Scott-Smith’s research interests involve a broad exploration of the multiple forms of diplomacy in international history. Special attention has been given to investigating the ‘Transnational Transatlantic’ – tracking and explaining the governmental and non-governmental linkages that have bound North America and Europe since WW II. This covers many sub-fields, which can broadly be termed New Diplomatic History: connections between ideas, ideology and power; the ‘cultural Cold War’; US foreign policy; the Atlantic Community; public diplomacy; intelligence history; state-private networks and the role of private individuals and institutions in transatlantic relations.

The event will take place as a part of the MA colloquium of the History Department online via Webex on July 6, 2020, 6.15 pm-7.15 pm (a 30-minute presentation by the speaker and a 30-minute discussion)

Please, register for the event at yulia.maximenkova@fu-berlin.de. The amount of spots is limited!