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This dissertation analyses perceptions, and receptions — as well as the implications of this association for cross-cultural interactions — through the American Film Showcase (AFS), a diplomatic program jointly organized by the University of Southern California and the U.S. Department of State. The results have helped to identify/clarify how perceptions of power, imperialism, and U.S. society shape people’s receptivity abroad to ideas about America and diplomatic interactions. They also illustrate ways in which current on-the-ground impressions of the U.S. shift — or why they persist — due to such outreach, and what this means for cultivating international relationships and transforming attitudes towards the U.S. by means of diplomatic efforts. These results thus offer insight into the benefits and drawbacks of cultural diplomacy, and may help to improve future diplomatic endeavors in regions significant to U.S. foreign relations.

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