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Images of America - Reality and Stereotypes

Experts in United States academia and American art forms will gather to discuss the ever-shifting and often contradictory images of America around the globe.

Jessica Franzetti | 21.09.2016

Each day the world is confronted with conflicting and fallacious images of America. These images emerge through exposure to the culture, policies, institutions, and people of the United Sates. Yet, as American mediums of expression continue to evolve and achieve greater global reach, perceptions of America do not always conform to reality.

To further explore these diverse opinions of America and the role that they play on the international stage, the session, Images of America: Reality and Stereotypes will take place at Schloss Leopoldskron from September 23-27, as part of the multi-year series Salzburg Seminar American Studies Association (SSASA). Originating from twenty-five different countries, these experts in American academia, arts and journalism, and diplomacy will convene to examine some of the most pressing questions concerning myths and realities of America.

Recognizing that images of America are determined by the viewer, and are often juxtaposed with reality, participants will dialogue about the influence of these perceptions on America’s soft power. Regardless of accuracy or factuality, these views of America impact international endeavors of foreign policy, commerce and trade, and cross-cultural institutional efforts. Participants will tackle complex questions in determining the impact of the international popularity of many American media forms, inaccurate perceptions of American ideals, and the prominence of American cultural exports on the United States’ role in foreign affairs. 

The upcoming session, as part of SSASA, continues Salzburg Global’s long history of studying America since its inception in 1947. The most recent session in the series, The Search for a New Global Balance: America’s Changing Role in the World, focused on America’s evolving role in a shifting world balance. While Salzburg Global Fellows of this most recent session of SSASA analyzed a multitude of sources that depict the position of America in world affairs, the upcoming session will utilize a lens focused on images of the United States perpetuated by American media. 

Led by co-chairs Christopher Bigsby, award winning novelist and biographer and current professor of American Studies and director of the Arthur Miller Centre for American studies at the University of East Anglia, UK, and Ron Clifton, former associate vice president of Stetson University and retired counselor in the Senior Foreign Service of the United States; the seminar will consist of close to sixty participants.  


The Salzburg Global session, Images of America: Reality and Stereotypes is part of the multi-year series Salzburg Global Seminar American Studies Association (SSASA). More information on previous sessions can be found here: ssasa.salzburgglobal.org/related-sessions/past-sessions.html.

21.09.2016 Category: IMAGINATION, SSASA
Jessica Franzetti