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Palgrave Macmillan

Science, Gender, and Internationalism

Women's Academic Networks, 1917-1955

ISBN 9781137438881
Publication Date July 2014
Formats Hardcover Ebook (PDF) Ebook (EPUB) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan
Series Palgrave Macmillan Transnational History Series

Born out of the optimism of the Paris Peace Conference, the formation of the League of Nations, and the fight for women's suffrage in Britain and the United States, the International Federation of University Women was founded in 1919 and consciously set out to reshape interwar society. In pursuit of sweeping professional and social change, the IFUW brought together women throughout the world who were passionately committed to promoting higher education as a means of achieving international understanding. It launched an international academic women's network to achieve these objectives, weaving together personal friendships and professional contacts across national and ideological divisions hardened by the unprecedented ordeal of global conflict. By 1930, the IFUW had 24,000 members and had expanded to thirty nations. In this fascinating transnational study, Christine von Oertzen traces the IFUW's rise in the international arena and the decline of its scientific internationalism in the Cold War era, making a valuable contribution to the cultural histories of diplomacy and intellectual exchange.

Christine von Oertzen is a Research Scholar at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, Germany.

1. Introduction
2. Global War, Global Citizens, Global Mission: The Anglo-American Project of an International Federation of University Women (IFUW)
3. Networks for Science: The IFUW's Program and Policies, 1919–33
4. Reactions in Central Europe: The German Case, 1919–33
5. World Community under Threat
6. Networks in Action: The IFUW's Assistance to Refugees
7. Marked by Persecution
8. Continuity, Memory, and the Cold War
9. Conclusion


'This ambitious study of the International Federation of University Women in Britain, the U.S. and Germany from the interwar years through the 1950s is transnational history at its best. Von Oertzen has recovered a forgotten yet vital transatlantic network of impressive women scholars and judiciously assessed its accomplishments, tensions, and shortcomings. Her work offers new insights into national and international women's movements, the behavior of women's organizations in Nazi Germany, and the fate of women Jewish refugees. This cultural history of a vibrant multinational academic network is a welcome addition to gender history, cultural history, and the history of international institutions and exchanges.' - Mary Nolan, Professor of History, New York University, USA
'High idealism for international peace framed the International Federation of University Women after World War I. Early personal and professional collaborations through tours, visits, and exchanges laid the groundwork for women academics in Britain and the United States to save, quite literally, hundreds of their peers in the wake of the Nazi rise to power. Christine von Oertzen's intimate portraits create a compelling narrative that reveals with candor and sensitivity the complexity and tensions within these networks reflecting feminism, science, and international relations.' - Sally Gregory Kohlstedt, Professor, History of Science, Technology and Medicine Program, University of Minnesota, USA
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