Latest Must-Reads in Public Diplomacy: May 2022

CPD Faculty Fellow Bruce Gregory has compiled a list of the latest must-reads in public diplomacy. Known affectionately at CPD as "Bruce's List," this list is a compilation of books, journal articles, papers and blog posts on a wide variety of PD topics.

Highlights from the latest list include:

Vivian S. Walker, Kathy R. Fitzpatrick and Jay Wang, “Exploring U.S. Public Diplomacy’s Domestic Dimensions: Purviews, Publics, and Policies,” U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, April 2022. This Commission report summarizes ideas and challenges in the U.S. government’s increasing use of public diplomacy programs and resources to engage domestic audiences. It is based on a virtual workshop with 45 practitioners, scholars, policy analysts and journalists in October 2021. The report includes three scene-setter remarks: Jennifer Hall Godfrey (former State Department senior official for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs), “Engaging Americans through Public Diplomacy;” CPD Faculty Fellow Nicholas J. Cull, (University of Southern California), “Public Diplomacy’s Domestic Dimension: Some Historical Notes;” and Richard Wike (Pew Research Center), “American Public Opinion and International Engagement.” Following are three working group reports. CPD Faculty Fellow Vivian S. Walker (the Commission’s Executive Director) summarizes views on the scope, authorities and strategic outcomes of domestic engagement. CPD Faculty Fellow Kathy R. Fitzpatrick (University of South Florida) discusses the meaning of domestic publics and ways public diplomacy goals could be addressed through outreach to them. CPD Director Jay Wang (University of Southern California) summarizes policy and resource questions. The report floats good ideas and raises important unanswered questions. Particularly useful are Cull’s cautions that connect needed rethinking of a hard binary between the foreign and domestic with awareness of potential risks grounded in partisan politics and historical concerns over domestic engagement.

Geoffrey Wiseman, “Expertise and Politics in Ministries of Foreign Affairs: The Politician-Diplomat Nexus,” in Christian Lequesne, ed., Ministries of Foreign Affairs in the World: Actors of State Diplomacy, (Koninklijke Brill, 2022), 119-149. Wiseman (DePaul University) carries forward his contributions to practitioner-oriented diplomatic studies in this compelling examination of interactions of diplomats and political leaders in ministries of foreign affairs (MFAs). In the context of concerns about faltering democracies and politicization of MFAs, he makes three claims. (1) MFAs (and their embassy networks) are important complicated actors constituted by individuals with mixed backgrounds and complex motives and emotions. (2) Diplomats’ interactions with political leaders are consequential for policy formulation and shaping national identities. (3) MFAs and diplomats have an underappreciated capacity for agency and innovation. He develops these claims in exploration of roles MFAs play as policy messengers, shapers, producers and resisters. The strengths of this well-written chapter are its clear definitions and concepts, evidence from a broad range of cases in pluralistic and authoritarian countries, an extensive bibliography, and numerous pointers to hard questions and agendas for further research. 

R.S. Zaharna, “A Humanity-Centered Vision of Soft Power for Public Diplomacy’s Global Mandate,” Journal of Public Diplomacy, Vol. 1, No. 2, 27-48. CPD Faculty Fellow R.S. Zaharna (American University) continues her research on a public diplomacy that goes beyond a competitive state-centric perspective and a “traditional diplomacy of imperialism.” Her goal is to expand a vision of soft power grounded in “humankind’s global heritages and evolutionary capacity for cooperation.” The article combines her argument that public diplomacy has failed the COVID-19 test with a comparative analysis of the soft power ideas of Alexander Vuving and Joseph S. Nye, Jr. 

The full list for this edition of Bruce's List can be found here.


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