Balance of Culture: the ongoing process of cultural globalization.

I’m sure the IR-savvy have more than an inkling of my reference--branching out from the classical concept of neorealist theory, balance of power (though since we’re talking about culture instead of power here, the implications of this definition obviously diverge quite a bit from BoP--in other words, it's improbable that substituting terms that apply to BoP will necessarily qualify in BoC). I believe that if we were to look at a network which displays various entities maneuvering throughout the broad system of global communications, BoC is inherently connected to the utility of soft power as well as diplomacy. BoC would be a valid condition only after a consensus of identity by a group or nation is established in some form (like “yogis” or “Incredible India,” respectively).

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I graduated from the University of Southern California where I majored in International Relations. Afterwards I worked at a law firm as well as a dispute resolution nonprofit organization while contemplating law school. Instead I decided to pursue my long time interest in human rights issues, which led me to spend quality time working at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, alongside excellent human rights policy NGOs that tirelessly labored on passing resolutions regarding human rights violations. Back in the States, I briefly continued this route in DC before working a few years at the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, California. While obtaining a Master’s in Public Art Studies, my husband Nikos and I opened a small contemporary art gallery in Culver City in order to maximize my art school experience outside of the classroom (the physical gallery has since closed but online inquiries about the artworks are still welcome). 

My intentions were to fuse the IR world with the world of visual culture via soft power and cultural diplomacy--particularly because I had already focused on the two latter concepts for years. Since the subjects of IR and art seem so far apart from each other (which is untrue but the way they are perceived and taught certainly makes it seem so), there is an unfortunate void of graduate programs that cater specifically to this integration. As such, I constructed this “program” myself. When most people hear the phrase “public art studies” they tend to think of sculptures in front of offices buildings, billboards, monuments, murals and the like. While there is nothing wrong with any of these things, I think that public art is also a concept that has long been utilized by entities in contexts that, strangely, have barely been approached by the art world (neither in discourse nor lexicon).

My graduate thesis investigated the role of the international exhibition as a tool of cultural diplomacy—namely, postwar Germany with documenta in 1955 and post disaster New Orleans with Prospect.1 in 2008. In my second year of graduate school I was fabulously guided through the nuances of cultural diplomacy—and public diplomacy—with Professor Nicholas Cull at the USC Center on Public Diplomacy at the Annenberg School for Communication, which profoundly influenced my graduate school experience and still stick with me today. 

Balance of Culture