Book Launch and Panel Discussion for "Soft-Power Internationalism: Competing for Cultural Influence in the 21st-Century Global Order”

April 08, 2022

Watch the full webinar above.

Columbia Global Centers | Rio, Columbia Global Centers | Beijing, and Columbia Global Centers | Istanbul jointly hosted a book launch and panel discussion for Soft-Power Internationalism: Competing for Cultural Influence in the 21st Century Global Order, edited by Victoria de Grazia, Moore Collegiate Professor of History at Columbia University, and Burcu Baykurt, Assistant Professor of Urban Futures and Communication at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.


About the Book

The term “soft power” was coined in 1990 to foreground a capacity in statecraft analogous to military might and economic coercion: getting others to want what you want. Emphasizing the magnetism of values, culture, and communication, this concept promised a future in which cultural institutes, development aid, public diplomacy, and trade policies replaced nuclear standoffs. From its origins in an attempt to envision a United States–led liberal international order for a post–Cold War world, it soon made its way to the foreign policy toolkits of emerging powers looking to project their own influence.

This book is a global comparative history of how soft power came to define the interregnum between the celebration of global capitalism in the 1990s and the recent resurgence of nationalism and authoritarianism. It brings together case studies from the European Union, China, Brazil, Turkey, and the United States, examining the genealogy of soft power in the Euro-Atlantic and its evolution in the hands of other states seeking to counter U.S. hegemony by nonmilitaristic means. Contributors detail how global and regional powers created a variety of new ways of conducting foreign policy, sometimes to build new solidarities outside Western colonial legacies and sometimes with more self-interested purposes. Offering a critical history of soft power as an intellectual project as well as a diplomatic practice, Soft-Power Internationalism provides new perspectives on the potential and limits of a multilateral liberal global order.



Victoria de Grazia is the Moore Collegiate Professor of History at Columbia University. Her books include Irresistible Empire: America’s Advance Through Twentieth-Century Europe (2005) and The Perfect Fascist: A Story of Love, Power, and Morality in Mussolini’s Italy (2020).

Burcu Baykurt is an assistant professor of urban futures and communication at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a faculty associate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University.

Jack L. Snyder is the Robert and Renee Belfer Professor of International Relations in the political science department and the Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia University.

Dilek Barlas is a professor of history at Koç University, Istanbul.

Fernando Santomauro is the officer at United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) in Barcelona.

Zhongying Pang is the Distinguished Professor of International Relations and Dean of the Ocean Development Institute at Ocean University of China in Qingdao.