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Domestic Politics And Public Diplomacy: Appalachian Cultural Exhibits And The Changing Nature Of U.S. Public Diplomacy, 1964–1972

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines two exhibits-"Appalachian Handcrafts" and "Mountain Craftsmen: The Southern Appalachians", in order to illuminate some important and often unappreciated issues about the nature of American public diplomacy during the Cold War years. It argues that the supposedly concrete and absolute "truths" about America, the steadfast and unchanging American "values," and the "ideals" passed down generation after generation-in other words, those elements that supposedly formed the core of America's psychological, public, and cultural diplomacy in the Cold War- were, in fact, extraordinarily flexible and almost constantly in flux. The two exhibits were reflections of rapidly evolving and changing American public perceptions of a particular issue and a particular region: poverty in Appalachia. Foreign audiences in 1966 and 1972-1973 visited quite different Appalachias in large part because American society and politics during those periods came to quite different conclusions about what was Appalachia.

Keywords: American public; Appalachian cultural exhibits; Appalachian Handcrafts; Cold War; Mountain Craftsmen:The Southern Appalachians; U.S. public diplomacy



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