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Hearts and Minds

US Cultural Management in 21st Century Foreign Relations


Matthew Chambers

This volume looks at a key component of recent US foreign relations, namely, its emphasis on «hearts and minds» as part of its cultural management of the global Other. The authors collected here analyze to what extent we can frame the intent and consequences of this term as a coherent policy, discussing how to think about foreign policy strategies that involve the management of cultural relations.

«Including fascinating first-hand and deeply-researched accounts of the workings of various US institutions (many of them ‘cultural’), this volume is a must for an understanding of the power the US projects worldwide.» Professor Laleh Khalili, SOAS University of London

«This fascinating collection reveals the nuance and complexity behind a seemingly banal phrase.» Professor David Schmid, State University of New York at Buffalo

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The Matrimony of Patrimony: The Troubled Marriage of Museums and Mission in U.S.-Occupied Iraq


Iraq is one of those unique places in the world – essentially contiguous to the Mesopotamia of old – a land between two rivers which has served in continuum for millennia as a cultural crossroads. The nation’s sense of history is evident even though it is a relatively new construct, established as a British Mandate colony in 1920 out of several distinct pieces of Ottoman territory. Here is believed to be the birthplace of agriculture, writing, law, city-states, and the wheel. It is the geographic successor to the great empires of the Sumerians, Assyrians, and Babylonians which made it a cradle of civilization. But as the past has shown, sometimes the cradle will fall…

One of the grave consequences of the United States’ invasion of Iraq in 2003 most covered by the media was the looting of the National Museum and other cultural institutions following the breakdown of order in Baghdad, an outcome of the conflict which, in public discussions, sometimes overshadowed the overall loss of life itself. The decision by the Coalition Provisional Authority to disband the Iraqi security forces which led to chaos illustrated not only a great depth of ineptitude but a lack of concern for those symbolic and yet highly important elements of society such as history and culture. And in perspective, the concept that Iraq’s antiquities might be targeted during the conflict should have been well understood as many regional museums had been looted during the first Gulf War of 1991 (Luke and...

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