The overall aim of this special issue is to explore what has been Eleanor Roosevelt's peculiar role as a transatlantic public diplomat. She has indeed been one of those leading American individuals who, due to their baggage of personal experience, their intellectual wisdom, and their public prominence, have left an enduring imprint on the transatlantic relations as a whole. By putting together the most recent European scholarship on her, this collection wants to assess the breadth of such an unceasing public diplomacy activity and relate it to the long-standing development of the social, political, and cultural exchanges that have taken place between the two shores of the Atlantic in the twentieth century.
Her proclivity for humanitarianism and her unmatched worldwide popularity make Eleanor Roosevelt one of the most outstanding examples of American public diplomats. Furthermore, the number of her social and political activities impacting on Europe is extraordinarily impressive. Well before entering the White House, she spared no effort to promote women’s empowerment and defend workers’ rights, in line with some of the most advanced and even radical positions characterizing the contemporary public debate in different European democracies. As first lady, she contributed to the implementation of many of the most important social and cultural New Deal’s plans, and she was particularly sensitive to the advancement of social rights as they became a compelling challenge for several European countries too. After 1945, she championed American postwar liberalism and provided European citizens and policymakers with alternative visions of democratic development. Simultaneously, she kept embodying the fast expanding U.S. cultural hegemony in the Old Continent.
European academics who are interested in this kind of transatlantic encounters are therefore invited to address several crucially relevant issues: Is it possible to include Eleanor Roosevelt in the number of the most influential American public diplomats of the last century? How do we assess the communication strategies that she developed and deployed to promote, transnationally, American liberalism and human rights? To what extent did American cultural diplomacy benefit from Eleanor Roosevelt’s activities in Europe and in the rest of the world? And finally, shall we consider her public utterances as the ultimate defense or, rather, as a by-product of American exceptionalism?
By answering these and other intriguing questions, this special issue will not only provide a state-of-the-art account of the studies on Eleanor Roosevelt in Europe, but it will also shed new light into the broader legacies that her not necessarily consistent public diplomacy efforts have left in this continent.
Proposals no longer than 300 words are due on September 30, 2015. Final submissions should be sent no later than November 30, 2015 to Dario Fazzi at firstname.lastname@example.org. All submissions will undergo the journal's usual blind peer review process.
Dr. Dario Fazzi
Roosevelt Study Center
4330 LA Middelburg