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Captivating Hearts and Minds: The Attempted Americanization of Asian Cultures, 1945-1970

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Item Summary

Title: Captivating Hearts and Minds: The Attempted Americanization of Asian Cultures, 1945-1970
Authors: Findlay, Robert
Keywords: USIA
Asia
Culture
Cold War
Media
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Issue Date: May 2016
Publisher: [Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [May 2016]
Abstract: This dissertation investigates the interaction between Asian societies and the United States Information Agency (USIA), the official propaganda apparatus of the United States, during the “cultural Cold War,” in which the United States, China, and the Soviet Union attempted to use culture – books, films, festivals, language, television, the popular press – as propaganda to attain foreign policy goals. While the political, military, and economic histories of the Cold War era have been well researched and debated, the cultural dimensions of the Cold War, particularly in East and Southeast Asia, have been largely ignored. Culture, however, mattered, and understanding US and Asian interactions and exchanges within a larger transnational history of a liberalizing postwar Asia reveals the critical role cultural values and products played in shaping individual Asian citizens’ ideas about themselves, their society, and America’s foreign policies during the Cold War era.
The types of propaganda products employed by USIS branches in Asia during the cultural Cold War included the printed word through posters, newspapers, magazines, and books in both English and local language translations designed to undermine Soviet and Chinese foreign policies while lionizing the United States. The agency likewise employed film and television to project American superiority while entertaining and capturing the largest possible audience for its propaganda messages. Furthermore, USIS officials encouraged the acquisition of English as a second language to open new channels of communication and to reduce tensions in nations facing an increased presence of American personnel.
This use of US cultural products to fight the Cold War not only acted as propaganda to win hearts and minds, but also shifted cultural practices in Asia toward a globalized version of American culture bolstering U.S. economic, political, and military power in the region. The creation of new spaces and opportunities for cultural consumption and practices is traced primarily in Thailand, the Philippines, and Japan across target audiences ranging from local student groups to authoritarian military leaders who both embraced and resisted aspects of American technology, values, and institutions they found relevant to themselves, their communities, and their nations in the second half of the twentieth century.
Description: Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2016.
Includes bibliographical references.
URI/DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/51371
Appears in Collections:Ph.D. - History


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