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Historian to discuss cultural roots of U.S. foreign policy

by Erman,Linda last modified Jun 17, 2010 11:53 AM

March 8, 2010

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Historian and author Walter Hixson will lecture March 31 at the University of Louisville about “Culture, Continuity and U.S. Foreign Policy.”

The free, public Gottchalk lecture in history will begin at 5:30 p.m. in Ekstrom Library’s Chao Auditorium. The UofL history department is co-sponsoring the event with the Filson Historical Society. There will be a public reception afterward.

Hixson, a University of Akron history professor, is expected to talk about the cultural roots of U.S. foreign relations and explain why the nation’s foreign policy has remained remarkably unchanged throughout its history. He contends that Americans always have united behind a powerful nationalism grounded in campaigns against external enemies and that this also affects domestic reform and dissent. Hixson suggests that people can better understand the relationship between war and society in the past and present by analyzing foreign policy in a cultural context over the span of American history.

Considered a scholar of U.S. foreign relations during the Cold War, Hixson has gained notice for grounding the study of U.S. diplomacy in new methods of cultural history. His most recent book is “The Myth of American Diplomacy: National Identity and U.S. Foreign Policy.”

His earlier books include “George F. Kennan: Cold War Iconoclast” and “Witness to Disintegration: Provincial Life in the Last Year of the USSR.”

Hixson earned his doctorate at University of Colorado, a master’s degree at Western Kentucky University and bachelor’s degree at University of Kentucky.

The Gottschalk lecture series is named for former UofL professor Louis Gottschalk, who served as president of the American Historical Society.

For more information, contact Tracy K'Meyer, 502-852-6819 or

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