History, Anthropology and Science, Technology and Society
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
2013 to 2014
The Space Race and American Public Diplomacy
Abstract: Through the nation’s civilian space program, officials in the State Department and the United States Information Agency sought to sell an image of America as a technologically capable, prosperous, and powerful nation, marketing this image to the global public by, among other means, touring space capsules around the world, exhibiting Moon rocks in over a hundred countries, and broadcasting the latest space accomplishments on radio and television in South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. This dissertation will examine how and why spaceflight came to play a distinctive and significant role in American public diplomacy and national image-making during the 1960s and 1970s.