Americans cared more about exporting their culture than importing foreign culture. By the 1950s, such preferences had produced a lopsided flow of international culture: the world knew more about American culture than Americans knew about the world.
Why do Americans know less about the world than foreigners know about America? Tracing the forgotten history of cultural globalization in the years after World War II, this lecture shows how a series of economic, political and diplomatic decisions effectively isolated American culture from foreign influence – even in the years that America rose as a global superpower. Exploring the histories of international education, journalism, travel, sport, and cinema, this lecture suggests a new way to think about the past, present and politics of globalization.