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Steven Hoelscher, Chair Burdine 437, Mailcode B7100, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-7277

Fall 2009

AMS 311s • US Diplomacy of Culture-W

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
29855 MWF
12:00 PM-1:00 PM
gar 0.120

Course Description

From the ideology of an American Republic to the ideology of the American Dream; from the physical business of westward expansion to the economic business of overseas expansion; from Christian missionaries to missionaries of democracy, American culture has always been exported. Sometimes culture affects diplomats and diplomatic relationships in unexpected ways; and sometimes culture itself works diplomatically.

One premise of this course is that American culture, unlike its geopolitical borders, cannot be examined properly if it is treated as an insular phenomenon. At no time in its history has the U.S. been unaffected by foreign cultures, and at no time has the U.S. ceased from having a profound effect on other cultures and people. But the tenor of these influences has changed throughout history. By the end of this course we will hopefully be able to trace these larger shifts in perceptions of and by American culture. We will look at the transfer of American culture by carefully considering the myriad channels it travels through. We will also pay particular attention to the domestic factors that shape our culture of diplomacy¬óbe it race, consumerism, gender, or religion.

Grading Policy

Attendance and participation: 20% Blackboard discussions: 20% Take-home essay: 25% Interview project: 35%


Possible Texts Robert Kaplan, The Arabists Matthew Frye Jacobson, Barbarian Virtues Walter Hixson, Parting the Curtain Robert Dean, Imperial Brotherhood Armand Mattelart and Ariel Dorfman, How to Read Donald Duck


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