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Music and International History in the Twentieth Century

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Volume 7

Explorations in Culture and International History

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Music and International History in the Twentieth Century

Edited by Jessica Gienow-Hecht

278 pages, 16 illus., 2 tables, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78238-500-4 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (April 2015)

ISBN  978-1-78533-758-1 $34.95/£27.95 Pb Published (November 2017)

eISBN 978-1-78238-501-1 eBook

Hb Pb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook! $34.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“What is interesting about this book? First, each chapter focuses on one genre of music—classical music…Second, this book highlights the benefits of music in the study of international history… This kind of aesthetics is less studied because of its seemingly apolitical nature. This book shows that music is not the “dessert,” but “the meat and the potatoes” (Buzzanco [2000], quoted by Fosler-Lussier, 119). In short, it nourishes our understanding of international history. IR scholars, especially rationalists or structural realists of IR, should read Music and International History in the Twentieth Century. · International Dialogue, A Multidisciplinary Journal of World Affairs


“Knowledgeably compiled and deftly edited,... Music and International History in the Twentieth Century is the seventh volume in the outstanding Berghahn Books Explorations in Culture and International History series…a seminal work of collective scholarship that should be a part of every professional and academic library 20th Century Music History reference collection and supplemental studies reading list.” · Midwest Book Review

“Jessica Gienow Hecht…has immersed herself in the study of classical music and examined its history in the modern international context. But the excellent contributions to this volume suggest that she is not alone.” · Akira Iriye, Harvard University

“…this is a valuable, thought-provoking anthology that is a strong addition to the burgeoning literature on culture and foreign relations.” · Laura Belmonte, Oklahoma State University


Bringing together scholars from the fields of musicology and international history, this book investigates the significance of music to foreign relations, and how it affected the interaction of nations since the late 19th century. For more than a century, both state and non-state actors have sought to employ sound and harmony to influence allies and enemies, resolve conflicts, and export their own culture around the world. This book asks how we can understand music as an instrument of power and influence, and how the cultural encounters fostered by music changes our ideas about international history.

Jessica C. E. Gienow-Hecht is Chair of the Department of History at the John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin and Alfred Grosser Chair at Sciences Po in Paris. She is the series editor of “Explorations in Culture and International History” (Berghahn Books) and her book Transmission Impossible: American Journalism as Cultural Diplomacy in Postwar Germany (1999) won the Stuart Bernath Prize and the Myrna Bernath Prize of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations. Her most recent monograph, Sound Diplomacy: Music and Emotions in Transatlantic Relations, 1850-1920 (2009, 2012 paperback) won the Choice Outstanding Academic Title Award and is currently being translated into Chinese. In 2017, Gienow-Hecht won a grant from the German Research Association to pursue a research on a project titled “The Quest for Harmony: Classical Music, Emotion, and the Discourse on Human Rights in the United States since World War II”. 

Subject: History: 20th Century to Present Media Studies Performance Studies


List of Illustrations
List of Contributors

Introduction: Sonic History or Why Music Matters in International History
Jessica C. E. Gienow-Hecht

Part I: Music, International Relations and the Absence of the State

Chapter 1. The Wicked Barrisons
David Monod

Chapter 2. Modern Music and the Popular Front: The International Society for Contemporary Music and Its Political Context (1935)
Anne C. Shreffler

Part II: Music, International History, and the State

Chapter 3. Music and International Relations in Occupied Germany, 1945-1949
Toby Thacker

Chapter 4. Instruments of Diplomacy: Writing Music into the History of Cold War International Relations
Danielle Fosler-Lussier

Chapter 5. "To Reach... into the Hearts and Minds of Our Friends": America's Symphonic Tours and the Cold War
Jonathan Rosenberg

Chapter 6. Music Diplomacy in an Emergency: Eisenhower’s “Secret Weapon,” Iceland, 1954–1959
Emily Abrams Ansari

Chapter 7. Intimate Histories of the Musical Cold War: Fred Prieberg and Igor Blazhkov’s Unofficial Diplomacy
Peter J. Schmelz

Chapter 8. “Where I Cannot Roam, My Song Will Take Wing”: Polish Cultural Promotion in Belarus, 1988
Andrea F. Bohlman


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