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Martha Graham's Cold War: the Dance of American Diplomacy

Martha Graham's Cold War illuminates the story of Martha Graham and her particular brand of dance modernism as a pro-Western propaganda tool used by the United States government during the Cold War. Representing every seated president from Dwight D. Eisenhower through Ronald Reagan, Graham performed politics in the global field for over thirty years. Why did the State Department consistently choose Martha Graham?

Victoria Phillips lays bare the side-by-side trajectories between the aging of Graham's choreography, her work as an ambassador, and the political dominance of the United States as a global power.

Courtesy of the Gerald Ford Presidential Library and Museum, Betty Ford, White House Papers, and the Library of Congress, Music Division. No photographer credited, undated photograph.

About Victoria Phillips

Victoria Phillips, Ph.D. is the author of Martha Graham’s Cold War: The Dance of American Diplomacy. A Lecturer in History at the European Institute and Department of History at Columbia University in the City of New York, Dr. Phillips is also Associated Faculty at the Harriman Institute, director of the Cold War Archival Research project (CWAR), and Visiting Fellow in the Department of International History at the London School of Economics.

Read More About Victoria Phillips


Courtesy of Jimo Salako

“I am not a propagandist....My dances are not political,” Graham once declared, but Phillips, a history lecturer at Columbia University, reveals in this expansive and meticulously researched debut that art and politics were deeply intertwined for the modern-dance pioneer.

-Kirkus Reviews


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