Jessica C. E. Gienow-Hecht
Berghahn Books, 2007 - History - 407 pages
"Decentering" has fast become a dynamic approach to the study of American cultural and diplomatic history. But what precisely does decentering mean, how does it work, and why has it risen to such prominence? This book addresses the attempt to decenter the United States in the history of culture and international relations both in times when the United States has been assumed to take center place. Rather than presenting more theoretical perspectives, this collection offers a variety of examples of how one can look at the role of culture in international history without assigning the central role to the United States. Topics include cultural violence, inverted Americanization, the role of NGOs, modernity and internationalism, and the culture of diplomacy. Each subsection includes two case studies dedicated to one particular approach which while not dealing with the same geographical topic or time frame illuminate a similar methodological interest. Collectively, these essays pragmatically demonstrate how the study of culture and international history can help us to rethink and reconceptualize US history today.