Cambridge Scholars Publishing


Bonds Across Borders: Women, China, and International Relations in the Modern World


Priscilla Roberts and He Peiqun

Date of Publication: 2007-09-01

At both the theoretical and practical level, the relationship between women, gender, and international relations has become increasingly controversial in recent years. This collection of essays by twenty leading scholars and diplomatic practitioners from China, Hong Kong, the United States, and Great Britain crosses national, disciplinary, cultural, professional, and gender boundaries to approach this subject from a wide variety of comparative perspectives, designed to stimulate further debate and research.

On the theoretical front, this volume explores the manner in which women and their contributions are represented within the discipline of International Relations; discusses whether women have unique contributions to make to both the academic study and the conduct of foreign affairs; and makes recommendations as to how women's concerns and viewpoints might be better incorporated into the field of international relations in both intellectual and practical terms.

Moving to the level of practice, chapters on and by assorted women diplomats reflect on the official careers and foreign policy contributions of women—including the first two US female secretaries of state and the first Asian American ambassador—in both China and the United States. Several highlight the career handicaps women diplomats have faced in China, the United States, and Europe alike. A variety of historical and contemporary case studies, the majority of them dealing with foreign women living in China or Hong Kong, also focus on women in nontraditional diplomatic roles, as wives, missionaries, peace activists, reformers, teachers, businesswomen, and journalists.

"It is rare that the published record of a conference contributes to the design and definition of a new field of study, but that is the case with this remarkable volume of essays collected and edited by Priscilla Roberts and He Peiqun. Its very first chapter raises the central question: why we should focus on women/gender and IR. The rest of the volume proceeds to answer it brilliantly. There are essays on familiar aspects of the subject—war war and peace—but also on varieties of formal and informal diplomacy. A concluding section outlines future lines of inquiry. This indispensable collection will make it difficult, at the least, to imagine that it is possible to discuss international relations without also discussing gender."

—Marilyn B. Young, Professor, Dept of History, New York University

To contact the list administrator, or to leave the list, send an email to: wunrn_listserve-request@lists.wunrn.com. Thank you.