International Studies | Topics in International Studies
I300 | 28904 | Cullather, N.

TOPIC: Image of America in the World

This class meets with HIST-A379 and AMST-A300.

People in most countries, a recent global survey reveals, hold
negative, and often strongly negative impressions of the United
States, and seven out of ten Americans believe the world’s opinion
of their country is “generally unfavorable.”

America has always held itself up as a model of liberty and renewal
to “old” countries across every ocean.  The global appeal of
American popular culture—-films, music, and consumer goods—-fuelled
economic growth, and furnished a kind of “soft power” that aided the
U.S. triumph over its twentieth century enemies.  Our sudden
awareness of the world’s rejection thus raises important questions:
What does the United States actually represent in the world?  How,
and why, has the image of the United States changed?  And, why do we
care so much? Whether penned by Alexis de Tocqueville, Antonin
Dvorák, or Paul Greengrass, Americans have tended to regard the
opinions of outsiders as the most authentic depictions of their true
selves.  We will examine historical and contemporary examples of
anti- and philo-Americanism for clues about our national identity
and standing in the world.