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 "1. The product of brilliant scholars from three continents, this book looks beyond the veil to tell us about the constructive roles that women play in international relations. 2. Bigots beware! 3. The lesson of this timely and brilliant Shanghai project is that women are beginning to shape our international community, and very possibly for the better." -Rhodri Jeffreys Jones, Department of History, University of Edinburgh "This collection of essays, drawn from the first international conference held in China on the role of women in international affairs, offers an intriguing look at the ways women have gained and wielded influence in foreign affairs both formally and informally.
These essays, written by historians and political scientists from Australia, China, Great Britain, and the United States, reveal that female social activists, journalists, and diplomats focused world attention anew on human rights and environmental issues, highlighting the degree to which women were disproportionately the victims of wars, illicit crime rings, and environmental disasters. Yet this collection rightly cautions against assuming that women were always more compassionate international actors, noting that women in power often assumed the same belligerent stance as their male counterparts. As administrative positions within foreign ministries opened up to women they also formed a key component of the middle-strata, but even today women remain consistently shut out of high-level diplomatic appointments. These illuminating essays reveal both the achievements and challenges for women who sought to influence the direction of international relations, demonstrating conclusively that one cannot understand the diplomatic history of the twentieth century without understanding the role of women in international affairs." -Jennifer D.
Keene, professor of history, Chapman University, Orange, California USA" "The essays in this excellent collection explore and elucidate the power and potential of women on the international scene-whether as actors in the public sphere in positions of authority or as private citizens working to shape and improve the policies of the global community. For scholars and practitioners alike who seek to understand how gender and feminist theory offers a new paradigm for the international system, or the degree to which women may serve as agents of peace, or the process by which women in power undergo masculization in order to succeed in a male-dominated world, [Bonds Across Borders] is an essential read and indispensable resource." -Edward P. Crapol, Pullen Professor, Emeritus, College of William and Mary