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Fall 2018
Oct 24, 2021
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STIA 409 - Sci, Technology, & Soft Power

Why have science and technology become fundamental measures of international standing and national strength? Why do science and technology—symbolically, ideologically, and in practice-- play outsized roles in shaping international relations in the twentieth and twenty-first century? This course delves into the historical roots of the employment of science and technology as forms of soft power to address these questions. The course focus will be on the US, but include how other nations explored the use of soft power to promote their own interests, with examples from Asia, Europe, Africa, and South America. Science and technology have long performed dual functions—as brute expressions of hard power as well as instruments of soft power. But the severe threat of nuclear destruction in the Cold War heightened the interest in soft power on the global stage, captured in the Space Race and phrases such as “winning hearts and minds.” From US attempts to influence and at times divert the trajectory of other nations scientific and engineering research programs to efforts to build transnational ties through scientific exchanges and education, science and technology have increasingly been used, in various ways and forms, as instruments of soft power. Moreover, with the rise of consumer societies on national and international scales, everyday objects such as radios, televisions, automobiles, and computers became novel potential instruments of power and persuasion—not only for the US, but for other nations. This course explores how all these dimensions of soft power gave shape to a new international order in the years after World War II. Topics studied in the course will include, the history of propaganda and public diplomacy, the Marshall Plan, the Space Race, nuclear nonproliferation, Modernization, the Green Revolution, global health initiatives, political uses of architecture, arms control, post-World War II consumer society, and the public diplomacy uses of communications technologies from radio to the Internet.


3.000 Credit hours
3.000 Lecture hours
0.000 Lab hours

Levels: MN or MC Graduate, Undergraduate
Schedule Types: Lecture, Seminar

Science, Tech, & Int'l Affairs Department

Course Attributes:
SFS/IPOL Security Studies, Mean Grade is Calculated

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