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Title: Below the summit : cultural and scholarly exchange visits in Sino-American relations, from ping-pong diplomacy to normalisation, 1971-1978
Author: Millwood, Pete
ISNI:       0000 0004 7430 5624
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2017
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Existing accounts of the US-China relationship of the 1970s have focussed on high-diplomacy conducted during summit visits such as President Richard Nixon's 1972 trip to China. This thesis is a history of Sino-American rapprochement below those summits. It examines the programme of cultural and scholarly exchange visits that, beginning with the ping-pong diplomacy of 1971, helped reacquaint the Chinese and American people after more than two decades of nearly hermetic isolation. This work argues, however, that exchanges did more than this. It posits that these contacts also exerted a powerful influence on the high-level relationship and, indeed, on the negotiations that took place in summit meetings. Exchange visits, as well as the ongoing negotiations around this programme of contacts, were a critical factor in the successes and failures, the progress and setbacks in Sino-American negotiations towards normalisation. The second argument of this thesis is that non-state exchange organisations, as well as individuals connected to these groups, were key actors in the Sino-American relationship. Two organisations are at the heart of the narrative: the National Committee on US-China Relations and the Committee on Scholarly Communications with the People's Republic of China. By focussing on the decision- and policy-making of these two groups, I challenge the extant depiction of the exchange programme as simply representative and derivative of high-level diplomacy. The documentary record shows that both governments were acutely aware of the agency exercised by those connected to the exchange programme and the influence of that programme on the bilateral relationship as a whole. The third argument of this work is that, in recognition of the importance of exchanges, both Chinese and American governments made a concerted effort to control and co-opt these transnational actors, with varying success.
Supervisor: Mitter, Rana ; Muscolino, Micah ; Preston, Andrew Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available