"American Women & U.S.-China Relations During the Cold War"

Anderson High School
Wednesday, March 8, 2017
6:15 pm
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Submitted By: International Multicultural Community

This lecture explores the role of women in U.S.-China relations during the Cold War. Women seldom come to the focus of scholarly debates on U.S. foreign relations—unsurprisingly so in light of the male dominance of American diplomacy. The history of U.S.-China relations during the Cold War is no exception. American women, however, played a significant role in reducing the mutual hostility between the United States and China that had existed since the Korean War in 1950. When the Vietnam War threw U.S. foreign policy in Asia into question in the mid-1960s, women’s organizations identified China as a key to building peace in that region and started to organize nationwide grassroots activities to promote understanding of China among ordinary Americans, who probably knew more about the moon than about the most populous country in the world. When thousands of Americans started to visit China after President Richard Nixon's historic visit in 1972, American women praised the ostensible gender equality in Chinese society and criticized the widespread sexism back home. Their analyses, however flawed or quixotic, helped to dissipate American prejudices against China and contributed to bilateral reconciliation by the end of the 1970s.

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