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Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

Breaking Barriers, Shaping Worlds

Canadian Women and the Search for Global Order

A spotlight on women in Canadian international affairs throughout history.
Though marginalized by historians, women have served at the center of Canadian international affairs. Breaking Barriers, Shaping Worlds highlights the overlooked contribution of a diverse group of women in Canadian political history—missionaries, diplomats, doctors, nurses, economists, anti-war, and Indigenous rights activists. This wide-ranging collection reveals the vital contribution of women to the search for a global order that has been a hallmark of Canada’s international history.

240 pages | 23 halftones | 6 x 9

Political Science: Diplomacy, Foreign Policy, and International Relations

Women's Studies


“This collection will prompt debate. It will prompt reflection. It will surely inspire future scholars to reframe Canadian international history around women and gender.”

Asa McKercher, Royal Military College of Canada

“Emphasizing the importance of broad participative decision-making, of quiet compromises, and of local domestic work outside the elite world of official diplomats, Breaking Barriers, Shaping Worlds adds to an exciting transformation in our official understanding of foreign policy and what it can achieve.”

Isabel Campbell, National Defense Headquarters

Table of Contents

Introduction: "Where are the Women?" / Jill Campbell-Miller & Greg Donaghy

Part 1: Women in Missions, Aid, and Development

1 Quietly Contesting Patriarchy: Dr. Jessie MacBean’s Medical Work in South China, 1925–35 / Kim Girouard

2 A Mission for Modernity: Canadian Women in Medical and Nursing Education in India, 1946–66 / Jill Campbell-Miller

3 Life Stories, Wife stories: Women Advisors on Economic Development / David Webster

Part 2: Women in International Resistance

4 Historically Invisible: The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, 1914–29 / Sharon Cook and Lorna McLean

5 The Voice of Women, the Baby Tooth Survey, and the Search for Security in the Atomic Age / Susan Colbourn

6 Marie Smallface Marule: An Indigenous Internationalist / Jonathan Crossen

Part 3: Women in Diplomacy

7 P.K. Page and the Art of Diplomacy: An Ambassadorial Wife in Brazil / Eric Fillion

8 Jean Casselman Wadds: Patriation, Dinner Party Wars, and a Political Diplomat / Steve Marti and Francine McKenzie

9 Flora Macdonald: Secretary of State for External Affairs, 1979–80 / Joe Clark

Conclusion: Breaking Historiographic Barriers / Dominique Marshall

Epilogue – Greg Donaghy: An Appreciation / Patricia E. Roy

Bibliography; Contributors; Index

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