The Chinese University of Hong Kong Department of History Department of History
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HIST4400GL Topic Studies in Asian History: Chinese Maritime Connections in Asia, 1500–1800

Semester 2 (2023-2024)

Lecture TimeWednesday, 14:30 - 16:15

VenueRoom 101, Leung Kau Kui Building (KKB 101)


Lecturer LUK Chi Hung (

Teaching Assistant PEI Xiao Shan (

Course Description

This course aims to show how the passages of Chinese people, ships, commodities, and ideas connected different maritime regions in East and Southeast Asia and other parts of the world in the early modern era (c. 1500-1800). It takes into account the state policies of China, other Asian “indigenous” polities, and European “imperialists,” and the activities of different Chinese groups such as merchants, sailors, pirates, and settlers in China, Japan, and Southeast Asia. Assisted by a variety of textual, cartographic, and pictorial sources, the course explores the roles of various forms of Chinese circulations such as tribute trade, smuggling, and migration in forming an Asian macro-region with its own intrinsic political, social, economic, and cultural orders. Students will have much chance to read historical materials and secondary literature in both English and Chinese.




  1. Introduction: Conceptualizing Maritime Asia
  2. The Ming-Qing Maritime Policies
  3. Maritime Policies in Japan and Southeast Asia
  4. The Tributary System and Tribute Trade
  5. Historical Methods
  6. Chinese Junk Trade
  7. Smuggling and Piracy
  8. Circulations of Copper and Silver
  9. Exchanges of Commodities
  10. Chinese Flows: Books and Ideas
  11. Transregional Connections: Chinese Traders and Others
  12. Chinese Communities in Maritime Southeast Asia
  13. Chinese Communities in Mainland Southeast Asia
Assessment & Assignments


Research proposal (10%)

Term paper (40%)

Tutorials (40%)

Class participation (10%)


See Blackboard.


See the course outline.

Honesty in Academic Work

Attention is drawn to University policy and regulations on honesty in academic work, and to the disciplinary guidelines and procedures applicable to breaches of such policy and regulations. Details may be found at

With each assignment, students will be required to submit a signed declaration that they are aware of these policies, regulations, guidelines and procedures.

  • In the case of group projects, all members of the group should be asked to sign the declaration, each of whom is responsible and liable to disciplinary actions, irrespective of whether he/she has signed the declaration and whether he/she has contributed, directly or indirectly, to the problematic contents.
  • For assignments in the form of a computer-generated document that is principally text-based and submitted via VeriGuide, the statement, in the form of a receipt, will be issued by the system upon students’ uploading of the soft copy of the assignment.

Assignments without the properly signed declaration will not be graded by teachers.

Only the final version of the assignment should be submitted via VeriGuide.

The submission of a piece of work, or a part of a piece of work, for more than one purpose (e.g. to satisfy the requirements in two different courses) without declaration to this effect shall be regarded as having committed undeclared multiple submissions. It is common and acceptable to reuse a turn of phrase or a sentence or two from one’s own work; but wholesale reuse is problematic. In any case, agreement from the course teacher(s) concerned should be obtained prior to the submission of the piece of work.

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