Gordon Barrett, "China’s Cold War Science Diplomacy" (Cambridge UP, 2022)


During the early decades of the Cold War, the People’s Republic of China remained far outside mainstream international science — right? 

Gordon Barrett’s new book, China’s Cold War Science Diplomacy (Cambridge University Press, 2022), counters this straightforward narrative and shows a very different side of China’s engagement with the outside world during this period. Barrett shows how scientists became crucial interlocutors for the early PRC, engaging in international and cross-bloc organizations, conferences, and networks. In China’s Cold War Science Diplomacy we follow scientists as they travel to international meetings, advocate for China’s position in international organizations, and correspond with collaborators and peers abroad. Overall, by piecing together a wide range of archival and published materials, Barrett shows how scientists developed transnational networks and interacted closely with overseas counterparts in ways that anticipated and lay the groundwork for China’s emergence as a science and technology powerhouse. Meticulously researched and carefully written, this book is sure to be of interest to those interested in modern Chinese history, science and technology, the Cold War period, and the role that scientists can play in diplomacy and diplomatic work.  

Sarah Bramao-Ramos is a PhD candidate in History and East Asian Languages at Harvard. She works on Manchu language books and is interested in anything with a kesike. She can be reached at sbramaoramos@g.harvard.edu.

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Sarah Bramao-Ramos

Sarah Bramao-Ramos is a Research Assistant Professor at the Society of Fellows in the Humanities at the University of Hong Kong. She can be reached at sarahbr@hku.hk
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