Professor Wang Lixin of Peking University visited the Center for World Modern History Research


On September 29, 2019, the World History Base invited Professor Wang Lixin from the Department of History of Peking University, the Distinguished Professor of Humanities, the “Changjiang Scholar” Distinguished Professor of the Ministry of Education, and Professor Wang Lixin, a famous alumnus of Nankai University, to hold “Can Culture Become Soft Power: About the United States” 

Special lecture on the historical investigation of foreign cultural export. 

The lecture was hosted by the base researcher Associate Professor Luo Xuan, and Associate Professor Dong Yu and graduate students of world history actively participated.

Mr. Wang first started with the core concept of this lecture: soft power. Mr. Wang introduced the focus of this lecture with three questions, namely: What is the historical trajectory of American cultural output? 

Should cultural dissemination serve American foreign policy? and Does cultural export enhance America's cultural soft power?.

In accordance with the time context, Mr. Wang briefly introduced the three historical stages of American cultural output, using World War II and the Cold War as the basis for time division. 

In each historical stage, Mr. Wang systematically summarized the main characteristics and main methods of American cultural output at that stage, and combined with the background of the times, analyzed the reasons for the different characteristics and the use of different cultural output methods between each stage. 

On the basis of understanding the basic historical facts, Mr. Wang used the situation in the United States as an example to analyze the relationship between cultural export and American foreign policy. 

He pointed out that liberals generally oppose the view that cultural export should serve American foreign policy. 

Liberals believe that cultural export should emphasize the role of citizens and groups, and its purpose should be to promote international understanding and the exchange of knowledge between the world, and to serve long-term goals. 

However, nationalists who support this view believe that the federal government should actively participate in cultural export and use cultural export as a means to promote the United States so that it can serve specific national strategies and increase national soft power.

Teacher Wang raised a thought-provoking question on these two different points of view: Does cultural output really enhance the country’s soft power? 

Teacher Wang Yuzhong pointed out: “You cannot simply equate cultural output with the expansion of the country’s soft power.” The goal of cultural communication should be “seeking to be understood, not accepted; not to influence others, but to learn from and inspire each other. 

After the lecture, the students asked Mr. Wang about the lecture and the problems encountered in the study of American history. Mr. Wang answered the students one by one with a broad mind, a broad vision, and a humanistic feeling of worrying about the country and the people. 

Our students asked questions enthusiastically, and the lecture came to an end amidst the deep thoughts and warm applause of the students.

Through this lecture, the students have a new understanding of historical research, and a new understanding of the direction and angle of viewing and researching things. More importantly, the students have a sense of humanism that is indispensable in history. How to deal with history in the complicated affairs is a question that every student of history should think about.