Oral History Archive

Welcome to the online archive of the Leverhulme Women and the History of International Thought Project. Over the past two years, the project’s postdoctoral associate, Sarah C. Dunstan, has created this archive of oral histories with senior women scholars in the overlapping fields of International Relations, Diplomatic History and Political Science. The disciplinary identity of each woman is contingent upon the way that scholarship on international relations questions were categorized during their graduate school experiences in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. In their own work, the women participants explicitly engage with and are engaged by literatures that would now come under the bracket of International Relations. The interdisciplinary nature of their intellectual formation is reflective of IR’s disciplinary origins in the Anglo-American context. Each of these women went on to teach and publish on questions of international relations from the vantage of tertiary institutions in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, influencing generations of students.

Unlike a standard interview with set questions, these oral histories follow British Library best practice, prompting interviewees to reflect upon their autobiographical trajectories in relation to their intellectual and scholarly careers. During the interviews each women reflects in their own way upon the themes of childhood and family background; education; publications; teaching; colleagues and work cultures; the discipline of international relations; feminism; mentorship; and retirement. The interviews provide a rich insight into contributions of women to international thought in this period. There are currently sixteen available interviews, more will be forthcoming soon. Two of these interview are only available in transcript form, they appear below. Transcripts are also available, for accessibility purposes, for the sound archive. Please contact Sarah C. Dunstan for these. 

For citation purposes, these interviews are the intellectual property of the individual woman interviewed, the interviewer and the Leverhulme Women and the History of International Thought Project. They are not to be reproduced in full without permission and should be cited as per the relevant practice of the researcher's preferred referencing format.


The following are the edited transcripts of the interviews with Christine Sylvester and Anne Sisson Runyan.