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Dr. Pete Millwood
Society of Fellows in the Humanities Pete Millwood


BA LSE; MSt, DPhil Oxon


Email Address

Office: 04.19


Research | Publications


Pete Millwood researches the history of the Chinese world's international and transnational relations, particularly with the United States. He is a postdoctoral fellow in the Society of Fellows in the Humanities at the University of Hong Kong. Before joining HKU, Pete was an LSE Fellow in East Asian History at the London School of Economics for two years. He also previously held postdoctoral fellowships at Tsinghua University’s Schwarzman College and Oxford's Rothermere American Institute.


Pete received his DPhil degree in History from St Antony's College, Oxford. During his doctorate, he undertook fieldwork through research fellowships at Peking University and the Library of Congress. He holds an MSt in Global and Imperial History from Oxford and a BA in International History from LSE and studied Chinese on a government scholarship at National Taiwan University's ICLP programme.






Pete's first book is a history of diplomacy through cultural and scientific exchange in the US-China rapprochement of the 1970s. Published by Cambridge University Press in December 2022, the book examines the role of Americans and Chinese outside of government in the rebuilding of the relationship between the two societies and states. Based on new sources collected from more than a dozen official, non-governmental, and private archives, from across China and the United States, it argues that a broader and more diverse cast of actors than previously recognised — musicians, scientists, academics, and performing artists — were as central to the transformation in US-China relations as were diplomats such as Henry Kissinger and Zhou Enlai.








Improbable Diplomats: How Ping-Pong Players, Musicians, and Scientists Remade US-China Relations. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2022.

"A cast of Improbable Diplomats - newly-minted academics, young athletes, musicians, quirky scientists - populate this fascinating and carefully documented account of the historic reconnection of the US and China. Millwood restores the social element to global history.""


- Gordon H. Chang, Stanford University


"This is an outstanding book. Essential reading for those interested in the history of Sino-US relations, diplomacy and transnational movements, Pete Millwood’s findings have powerful resonances for the present day, in which a pandemic threatens to resurrect between the two countries barriers troublingly similar to the Cold War’s ideological blockades."


- Julia Lovell, Birkbeck, University of London

Improbable Diplomats: How Ping-Pong Players, Musicians, and Scientists Remade US-China Relations




'An "Exceedingly Delicate Undertaking": Sino-American Science Diplomacy, 1966–78', Journal of Contemporary History, 56:1: 166-190 (January 2021)


'(Mis)Perceptions of Domestic Politics in the U.S.-China Rapprochement', Diplomatic History, 43:5: 890–915 (November 2019)