2003 Arrogance & Envy
Central to the events of this year's Symposium is a consideration of the rapid shift in international responses to the events of "11 September": from the spontaneous outpouring of grief and sympathy to the ensuing surge of anti-American sentiments and overt anti-Americanism, initially throughout the Middle East, but more recently in the Russian Federation and even among traditional U.S. allies. The dramatic reversals of decades-long U.S. foreign policy in the past two months (memorialized best by the jingoist slogans "Go It Alone!" and "Hit Them First!") has done little to address or attempt to redress the re-emerging image of "the ugly American" in the media abroad.
The focus of this year's events will be on the negative images and stereotypes of Americans generated across five decades (1950s-2000s) by the Soviet Union's (and subsequently Russia's) film industry and made-for-television broadcasts. In undertaking this project, our goal is neither to engage in another round of "America bashing," comparable to recent political demonstrations on university campuses and in Washington, nor to create a panoramic spectacle of anti-American images. Instead, the goal of this year's Symposium is to provide a scholarly arena within which it will be possible to examine the narrative and imaging strategies adopted by generations of Russo-Soviet cultural producers (from Stalin through Putin) in vilifying Americans as the enemy, as "the other." No other geo-political space or entity has a comparable history (in length of time or in the diversity of representational approaches) in generating anti-American images.