Research Programs: Fellowships for University Teachers

Period of Performance

8/1/2011 - 7/31/2012

Funding Totals

$50,400.00 (approved)
$50,400.00 (awarded)

American Music, Global Messages: Building Bridges in the Cold War World

FAIN: FA-55637-11

Danielle Fosler-Lussier
Ohio State University (Columbus, OH 43210-1349)

During the cold war, the U.S. State Department sent musicians all over the world to create positive impressions of the U.S. and its foreign policy. Scholars have studied the plans and purposes of these cultural programs, but a thorough assessment of their outcomes has not yet been achieved. I have gathered extensive archival documentation and conducted oral history interviews with musicians and diplomats to reveal the intended and unintended consequences of state-sponsored musical performances abroad. Musicians' tours were not simply one-way propaganda: they built subtle social and political relationships on a global scale, changing the attitudes of Americans as well as their target audiences. The book resulting from this research will contribute to musicology, diplomatic history, and globalization studies. Much of the research for this book has already been accomplished: I would use the NEH Fellowship to fund a year's leave from teaching to write the book, August 2011-August 2012.

Media Coverage

The Minnesota Orchestra goes to Cuba: What can musicians hope to achieve? (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Danielle Fosler-Lussier
Publication: The Conversation
Date: 5/15/2015
Abstract: Viewing contemporary musical diplomacy through the lens of history allows us to see the ways in which music can be effective in international relations.

Rethinking Historical Data: A Foray into Digital Humanities (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Danielle Fosler-Lussier
Publication: Musicology Now
Date: 6/2/2015

"Outstanding Academic Title": Choice Magazine (Review)
Author(s): R.D. Cohen
Publication: American Library Association Choice Magazine
Date: 12/15/2015
Abstract: "Outstanding Academic Title" suitable for general readers

Carol Hess, Review of Danielle Fosler-Lussier, Music in America’s Cold War Diplomacy (Review)
Author(s): Carol Hess
Publication: Transposition: Musique et sciences sociales
Date: 4/1/2017
Abstract: “Fosler-Lussier’s tracking of multidirectional interactions, of the constant dance between empathy and incomprehension or condescension and collaboration, goes far beyond the black-and-white stereotypes of good and evil – Spy vs. Spy – that so often obscure foreign policy. Surely Fosler-Lussier’s model and the findings it reveals will stimulate new observations for years to come.”

Emily Abrams Ansari, Review of Danielle Fosler-Lussier, Music in America’s Cold War Diplomacy (Review)
Author(s): Emily Abrams Ansari
Publication: American Music
Date: 7/1/2016
Abstract: “Music in America’s Cold War Diplomacy is hugely significant—and urgently needed—not only because it offers the first scholarly overview of Cold War musical diplomacy but also because of the care and balance with which Fosler-lussier assesses this program. As the reader has come to expect, the book’s conclusion deliberately resists the allure of simplistic claims about what the tours achieved. We find here neither an idealistic celebration of the power of music to transcend politics nor a cynical critique of the way governments can exploit music’s emotional impact.”

DeLapp-Birkett, Review of Danielle Fosler-Lussier, Music in America’s Cold War Diplomacy (Review)
Author(s): Jennifer DeLapp-Birkett
Publication: Journal of the American Musicological Society
Date: 12/1/2016
Abstract: “This compact book is a deft, readable distillation of thousands of pages of government documents and other primary sources, hours of personal interviews, and a wide range of secondary literature. The author surveys core questions of musical diplomacy including agency and power, propaganda and communication, and the politics of culture, presenting a framework within which extant studies and future scholarship on musical diplomacy can be understood. Throughout, she elegantly voices the perspectives of sending agents (government planners), those sent (the musicians), the facilitators and implementers (field officers, foreign and US entrepreneurs), and audiences, in a narrative that moves between local detail and global context with a Google-maps-like fluency.”

Jessica Black, review of Danielle Fosler-Lussier, Music in America’s Cold War Diplomacy (Review)
Author(s): Jessica Black
Publication: Context
Date: 12/1/2016
Abstract: "Music in America’s Cold War Diplomacy is extensively researched and documented, and draws on Fosler-Lussier’s PhD and numerous published articles. The companion website provides a comprehensive searchable database of musical and theatrical performances sponsored by the US State Department, which is a valuable additional resource for readers and researchers in this field."

Caitlin Schindler, Review of Danielle Fosler-Lussier, Music in America’s Cold War Diplomacy (Review)
Author(s): Caitlin Schindler
Publication: H-DIPLO
Date: 11/1/2015

Vest, Review of Music in America's Cold War Diplomacy (Review)
Author(s): Lisa Cooper Vest
Publication: Notes (Music Library Association)
Date: 12/1/2017

Bartig, Review of Music in America's Cold War Diplomacy (Review)
Author(s): Kevin Bartig
Publication: Journal of the Society for American Music
Date: 5/1/2018

Fairclough, Review of Fosler-Lussier and Tomoff (Review)
Author(s): Pauline Fairclough
Publication: Music & Letters
Date: 5/1/2016

Associated Products

Music in America's Cold War Diplomacy (Book)
Title: Music in America's Cold War Diplomacy
Author: Danielle Fosler-Lussier
Editor: Rachel Berchten
Abstract: During the Cold War, thousands of musicians from the United States traveled the world under the sponsorship of the U.S. State Department’s Cultural Presentations program. The musicians competed with Soviet and Chinese performers to enhance the reputation of American culture, but they also built meaningful personal connections with people in other lands. Through personal contact and the media, State Department-sponsored concerts created subtle musical, social, and political relationships on a global scale. These relationships turned individual musicians and audience members into citizen-diplomats, changing their perspective and re-defining what citizenship meant in the Cold War world.
Year: 2015
Primary URL:
Secondary URL:
Access Model: Available for purchase from May 2015
Publisher: University of California Press
Type: Single author monograph
ISBN: 9780520284135
Copy sent to NEH?: No
Copy sent to NEH?: Yes

Database of Cultural Presentations (Database/Archive/Digital Edition)
Title: Database of Cultural Presentations
Author: Danielle Fosler-Lussier
Author: Eric Fosler-Lussier
Abstract: The data presented here represents partial information about the U.S. State Department's Cultural Presentations Program from 1954-1980. These data were collected during the research for Music In America's Cold War Diplomacy. The two major archival repositories represented in this database are these: • National Archives at College Park, Maryland. Records are principally located in Record Group 59 (General Records of the Department of State). • ARK: University of Arkansas Libraries, Department of Special Collections, Fayetteville, Arkansas. MC468, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Historical Collection. This database represents a first attempt to organize the extant data about the State Department’s Cultural Presentations program, which began in 1954. The database is far from complete for the following reasons: * The U.S. government keeps only a tiny fraction (about 5%) of the records it generates. Most of the extant archival records of cultural presentations tours are incomplete; some tours are not documented at all in existing State Department records. There are fewer records for tours in the early-to-mid 1960s than for tours in the 1950s. * I have not had the resources to survey all the extant records. My primary focus was on the time period between 1954 and the early 1970s; later tours are poorly represented in the data collected here. * Performers’ itineraries were subject to change. Local circumstances often forced significant alterations to the plan for each tour. Revised itineraries may not have been generated or preserved. * Many documents about cultural diplomacy have not yet been collected from personal collections and the archives of groups that traveled. The database should therefore be used as a starting point only. Nonetheless, it offers scholars and other interested persons a way to find out who went where on State Department-funded musical tours.
Year: 2015
Secondary URL:
Access Model: Open access