Machineries of Persuasion: European Soft Power and Public Diplomacy during the Cold War

Rosa Magnusdottir's picture
Call for Papers
October 1, 2016
Subject Fields: 
Area Studies, European History / Studies, Government and Public Service, Humanities



European Soft Power and Public Diplomacy during the Cold War

Over the last two decades, public diplomacy has become a central area of research within Cold War studies. Yet, this field has been dominated by studies of the superpowers' soft power practices; especially the public diplomacy programs of the United States have been covered in great detail. However, the so-called 'cultural dimension' of the Cold War was a much more complex and multifaceted phenomenon. Little attention has been paid to the efforts European countries to safeguard their strategic, economic, and political interests by engaging and seducing foreign publics.

This symposium focuses on the study of the European powers' use of soft power techniques, broadly defined, to advance their foreign policies in the international tumultuous scenario of the Cold War. It welcomes contributions that deal with the uses of European cultural, educational, and communication diplomacy aimed at winning the "hearts and minds" of international public opinion between the 1950s and 1980s.

The symposium will be held on 19-20 January 2017 at the Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies (Aarhus University, Denmark). It will consist of academic paper sessions (oral paper presentations) and a keynote lecture given by Prof. Dr. Jessica Gienow-Hecht, Department of History, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany.

Successful presenters will have their accommodation expenses during the symposium covered.

Key dates:

  • Deadline for proposals: proposals of no more than 400 words should be submitted by 1 October 2016. To submit a proposal, please send an email to the co-organizers: /
  • Notification of acceptance: 15 October 2016
  • Deadline for final paper: 6 January 2017
  • Symposium: 19-20 January 2017
Contact Info: 
Rosa Magnusdottir
Department of History
Aarhus University
Oscar Jose Martin Garcia
Aarhus Institute for Advanced Studies
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