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BookReviews 113 Book Reviews Richard P. Horwitz, ed. Exporting America: Essays 011 American Studies Abro,uf.New York: Garland Press. 1993. Pp. xix+425. Unlike many collections of essays in this genre, this is a highly opinionated, often critical, anthology. The editor says in his introduction: "I did my best to contact authors who challenged the cliches [1] ••• " and he has found them. Several contributors even go hunting for that most sacred cow, the Fulbright program. Others explore the problems, dilemmas, mistakes, duplicities and covert agendas of American studies as they are promoted abroad. During the early years of the Republic, as Richard T. Arndt points out in "American Cultural Diplomacy: The U.S. Government Role,,, in a foreign policy climate of isolation, American diplomacy was slow to develop and relied a good deal on the amateurish efforts of its educated elite. Accordingly , writers often found their way into diplomatic and consular posts, mcluding Irving, Hawthorne, Howells, J.R. Lowell, and Bret Harte. Almost inadvertently, then, cultural relations were introduced into diplomacy at an early date. Another strong influence on foreign relations was missionary work. Missionaries carried with them abroad "an odd mix of religion and politics, evangelism and education, science and pragmatism-ideas that were not always clear to the missionaries themselves,, (8). Arndt points out that the children of these missionaries were prominent in the staffing of the foreign affairs establishment as it burgeoned in the 1930s. From the beginning then, both the diplomatic and emerging cultural relations had a missionizing cast, selling the American idea of "the last best hope,, for mankind. The Fulbright program continues this missionary bent, though Senator Fulbright himself contended that his original concern was more to educate Americans about overseas realities than to inform foreigners about the United States. At first the program maintained its independence from government control through its administration by the twenty-four member Board of Foreign Scholarships (BFS), staffed almost entirely by academics. 114 Canadian Review of American Studies Arndt traces how the board's autonomy was gradually undermined, a process which began when President Johnson appointed three of his White House staff to the BFS. The present board has only two or three academics on it. The creation of the USIA, in 1953, also meant that cultural affairs were to be strongly influenced by a propagandistic purpose. In the early 1950s, cultural affairs offices were partly staffed by short-term academic appointments. Now these are all career personnel. The Fulbright program was gradually absorbed into government-controlled cultural affairs programs which in turn were increasingly dominated by political appointments, especially in the Reagan years. Many American studies enterprises were affected by this. Older members of the Canadian Association of American Studies (CAAS) will well remember the baleful effects on the association by the interference of a Reagan appointee in Ottawa in those years. in the face of this erosion of independent cultural affairs and the gradual reduction of funding in general, Arndt asks, nis anyone listening?" Apparently not. In another essay, 11 Commercial and Cultural Internationalism After the Cold War," Frank A. Ninkovich claims that, in spite of 11 an open traffic in goods and ideas" after the collapse of the Soviet Union, "the intellectual underpinnings of cultural internationalism are today far shakier than at any time in this century" (54). In the years when American cultural diplomacy was still idealistic and relatively untainted, much was done to help establish American studies abroad. Its greatest success was probably in Germany-a Germany, at least iin its western part, that was eager for a new vision in the light of the massive national tragedy of the Nazi era. Indeed one of the contributors to this volume, James F. Lacey, claims that the concept of American studies originated in Germany in the 1920s. It grew out of the German academic concern with area studies-an attempt to understand other cultures through interdisciplinary cooperation. The German Association for American Studies was founded in 1953, just two years after the ASA. The Kennedy institute in Berlin is the most radical example of the American studies idea in the world, housing six departments, its own lecture and seminar rooms, and probably the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1710-114X
Print ISSN
0007-7720
Pages
pp. 113-117
Launched on MUSE
2019-01-02
Open Access
No
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