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Hearts and Minds

US Cultural Management in 21st Century Foreign Relations


Edited By 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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Shaping the U.S. Image in Iran via Satellite: VOA’s Simaye Amrica and Its Projection of America’s Attractiveness


The war on terrorism has focused attention on the important role U.S. public diplomacy plays in improving the nation’s image. The United States has undertaken efforts to ‘win hearts and minds’ by better engaging, informing, and influencing foreign audiences; however, recent polling data show that anti-Americanism is spreading and deepening around the world.

(GAO 2005)

Time and again, we have seen that the best ambassadors for American values and interests are the American people—our businesses, nongovernmental organizations, scientists, athletes, artists, military service members, and students.

(Obama 2010: 12)

In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001, and in the wake of widespread opposition to U.S. policies regarding its war on terrorism, public diplomacy became the panacea for negative public opinion of the United States abroad. Post-9/11 publications – both governmental reports and scholarly articles – on foreign policy and public diplomacy efforts toward the Middle East predominantly emphasized the necessity to engage in a ‘war of ideas’ by shaping the U.S. image abroad in a favorable way. One of the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, for example, urged the need to ‘defend our ideals abroad vigorously’ and warned ‘[i]f the United States does not act aggressively to define itself in the Islamic world, the extremists will gladly do the job for us’ (2004: 377). Thus, engaging actively in image cultivation has been considered a strategy for advancing national interests and maintaining national security. In this context, U.S....

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