1st Edition

US Cultural Diplomacy and Archaeology Soft Power, Hard Heritage

By Christina Luke, Morag Kersel Copyright 2013
    170 Pages
    by Routledge

    182 Pages
    by Routledge

    Archaeology’s links to international relations are well known: launching and sustaining international expeditions requires the honed diplomatic skills of ambassadors. U.S. foreign policy depends on archaeologists to foster mutual understanding, mend fences, and build bridges. This book explores how international partnerships inherent in archaeological legal instruments and policies, especially involvement with major U.S. museums, contribute to the underlying principles of U.S. cultural diplomacy.

    Archaeology forms a critical part of the U.S. State Department’s diplomatic toolkit. Many, if not all, current U.S.-sponsored and directed archaeological projects operate within U.S. diplomatic agendas. U.S. Cultural Diplomacy and Archaeology is the first book to evaluate museums and their roles in presenting the past at national and international levels, contextualizing the practical and diplomatic processes of archaeological research within the realm of cultural heritage. Drawing from analyses and discussion of several U.S. governmental agencies’ treatment of international cultural heritage and its funding, the history of diplomacy-entangled research centers abroad, and the necessity of archaeologists' involvement in diplomatic processes, this seminal work has implications for the fields of cultural heritage, anthropology, archaeology, museum studies, international relations, law, and policy studies.

    1. Introduction: Archaeology and U.S. Cultural Diplomacy  2. The Tea Circuit: Foreign Centers, Archaeology, and U.S. Cultural Policy  3. Archaeological Permits and Hostage Objects  4. Hard Borders, Soft Loans  5. Securing Heritage: The Hard Power Approach  6. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation  7. Lessons Learned: The Future of Cultural Relations and Archaeology  Notes  References  Index


    Christina Luke is a Senior Lecturer in the Writing Program and Anthropology Department and a Senior Research Associate Professor in the Archaeology Department at Boston University. She earned her doctorate in Anthropology from Cornell University. Her current work focuses on cultural heritage policy and legal implementation in the United States as well as archaeological landscapes and heritage management in western Turkey. She worked for two years in the Cultural Heritage Center of the Department of State and for four years directing programs for the Cultural Heritage Center and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security at the University of Pennsylvania Museum. She is co-director with Christopher H. Roosevelt of the Central Lydia Archaeological Survey (CLAS) in western Turkey. She is the recipient of a 2010-2011 National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant and is living in Izmir, Turkey.

    Morag M. Kersel is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at DePaul University. She earned her PhD from the Department of Archaeology at the University of Cambridge. Her research considers the legal remedies employed by countries in the Eastern Mediterranean to protect against archaeological site destruction as a result of the market demand for archaeological artifacts. From 2000–2003 she administered the Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation at the U.S. Department of State. She co-directs with Meredith S. Chesson the "Follow the Pots" project in Jordan – an innovative investigation into the multiple social lives of archaeological artifacts. She is also a Research Associate at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, where she is the co-director with Yorke Rowan of the Galilee Prehistory Project.


    "Such a methodological approach, richly supported by experience, multi-archival primary sources, and cross-disciplinary connections, provides theoreticians, students, and practitioners with a fuller understanding of "another element of the diplomatic toolkit."  Summing Up: Highly recommended."  G. Donato, Bentley University, in CHOICE

    "In archaeology it is impossible, no matter what your nationality or where you conduct research, to escape the fallout from US interventions. This book effectively charts those effects and future ramifications for host countries and researchers. It exposes our constitutive disciplinary inheritances and responsibilities for the future." – Lynn Meskell, Stanford University

    "This book faces a double task. It has to show that archeology is relevant to the practice and understanding of American cultural diplomacy and it has to document exactly what that relevance is. Fortunately, the authors accomplish both tasks admirably...Christina Luke and Morgan M. Kersel know their subject” - Nicholas J. Cull, ID: International Dialogue