Alumni (National Fellow)

Elizabeth Ingleson

National Fellow
Sydney, Australia
B.A. University of New South Wales (2011)
Ph.D. University of Sydney (2016)
Dream Mentor:
Thomas Borstelmann
University of Nebraska, Lincoln
Fields of Interest:
Foreign Policy
History of Capitalism
Political Economy
Region: China
Social History
The Cold War


Elizabeth Ingleson is a postdoctoral fellow at Southern Methodist University.

Ingleson’s research explores the relationships between trade, politics, and labour with a particular focus on the United States. Her current book, Making Made in China: US-China Trade in the 1970s, tells a fundamentally new story of 1970s Sino-American relations. A social and political history, Making Made In China explores the decisions made by new historical actors including Chinese Americans, businesspeople, multinational corporations, and workers in both countries. Her arguments reconceptualize the relationships between trade, labour, and diplomacy.

Prior to her doctoral studies, she worked at the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet in Canberra.

Thesis Description:

The End of Isolation: Rapprochement, Globalisation, and American Trade with China, 1972-1979
She explores businesspeople as crucial agents of diplomacy, looking at the American trade culture that developed, and applying cultural and business history methodologies to the diplomatic history of rapprochement. Additionally, she explores the American political ideas about trade with China, which assumed burgeoning trade ties would assist the rapprochement process by creating mutual interests from which political negotiations could develop. This reflected the 1970s context in which the notion of interdependence became a key idea in American foreign policy: an idea that was in many ways a precursor to that of globalization. Her research raises questions about the relationships between politics, economics, culture and business in America. She argues that even though America’s trade with China in the 1970s was important politically, by the end of the decade rather than shaping the politics of rapprochement the reverse became true. The trade between the two countries was instead substantially influenced by political considerations, none more so than the political desire for interdependence. The historical experience of the 1970s shows the nuances in the contemporary correlation made between trade and peace in Sino-American relations. Rather than a linear dynamic, politics deeply influenced trade, highlighting the key role that deliberate cultivation and political willpower played in supporting and encouraging what is today the world’s most important trade relationship.

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