Culture and International History

Culture and International History

Culture and International History

Culture and International History


Combining the perspectives of 18 international scholars from Europe and the United States with a critical discussion of the role of culture in international relations, this volume introduces recent trends in the study of Culture and International History. It systematically explores the cultural dimension of international history, mapping existing approaches and conceptual lenses for the study of cultural factors and thus hopes to sharpen the awareness for the cultural approach to international history among both American and non-American scholars.

The first part provides a methodological introduction, explores the cultural underpinnings of foreign policy, and the role of culture in international affairs by reviewing the historiography and examining the meaning of the word culture in the context of foreign relations. In the second part, contributors analyze culture as a tool of foreign policy. They demonstrate how culture was instrumentalized for diplomatic goals and purposes in different historical periods and world regions. The essays in the third part expand the state-centered view and retrace informal cultural relations among nations and peoples. This exploration of non-state cultural interaction focuses on the role of science, art, religion, and tourism. The fourth part collects the findings and arguments of part one, two, and three to define a roadmap for further scholarly inquiry. A group of" commentators" survey the preceding essays, place them into a larger research context, and address the question "Where do we go from here?" The last and fifth part presents a selection of primary sources along with individual comments highlighting a new genre of resources scholars interested in culture and international relations can consult.


This book collects examples from the research of a new, post-1968 generation of historians on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean who have begun to redefine the field of international history with a particular eye on culture as a variable and a methodology. The idea for this project grew out of a conference on “Culture and International Relations” at the Center for U.S. Studies (Stiftung Leucorea, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg) in December 1999. This volume represents the first of a series dedicated to explorations in culture and international history, which seeks to present individual examples emerging from a new and dynamic field of scholarship.

The editors are grateful to all authors for submitting and revising their essays in time; to the Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft for a generous conference grant; and to the Stiftung Leucorea for welcoming us in its historical halls dating back to the sixteenth century and for sponsoring the production of this book. Many thanks to Marion and Vivian Berghahn, and Berghahn Books for their candid criticism, unfailing encouragement, continuous interest in transatlantic relations, and for being such good sports. A hearty thank you to our copyeditor, Sue Sakai whose attention to detail impressed all of us, and to Heiko Hecht who helped us to format the original manuscript. Finally, herzlichen Dank to Gudrun Calow for her administrative assistance in the early stages of this project.

Jessica C. E. Gienow-Hecht and Frank Schumacher October 2002 . . .

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