Invited Seminar Talk: 'Scientists, Activists, and Interlocutors: Epistemic Communities and China's Cold War Foreign Relations

Gordon Barrett (Speaker)

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesInvited talk

Description

Invited Seminar Talk: 'Scientists, Activists, and Interlocutors: Epistemic Communities and China's Cold War Foreign Relations

Abstract: China’s Cold War diplomacy stretched far beyond the world of politicians and professional diplomats. The Chinese Communist Party’s foreign policy elite looked to scholarly communication as a key means of linking political circles in the People’s Republic of China to communities beyond the socialist and developing worlds. This talk analyses these linkages, examining the role played by a small cohort of prominent Chinese scientists who were active in international scientific organisations and events such as the World Federation of Scientific Workers and the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs. For these scientists, such party-approved ‘People’s Diplomacy’ afforded them valuable opportunities to maintain contact with scientific networks from which they would have otherwise been isolated. For the CCP, these scientists were singularly effective intercultural intermediaries who, being embedded in overlapping transnational epistemic and activist communities, won sympathy and support for the PRC among foreign intellectuals. These Mao-era linkages were a notable part of the foundation not only for the expansion of Sino-foreign academic exchange in the Reform era, but also the wider normalisation of China’s relations with the First World.
Period26 Oct 2014
Event typeSeminar