Inter-area/Border Crossing

Organized Panel Session

(48) Narrating Pirates: Identity, History, and Fiction in Early Modern China and Southeast Asia (1550-1750)

3/23/2018
10:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Location: Harding, Mezzanine Level

Tonio Andrade’s and Xing Hang’s recent edited volume Sea Rovers, Silver, and Samurai carves out an early modern maritime world to connect East Asian history with global history. At the center of this narrative of maritime global history is the fluid and malleable identity of pirates. Powerful maritime merchants who resisted central authorities were labelled as pirates and rebels. But through their overseas settlements, they appropriated the land-based Confucian civilization into sea-oriented cultures. This panel further investigates how commemoration and literary representations of pirates played an important role in shaping discourse on empire and transnational flow of people and ideas. Calanca Paola examines the case of the Chinese pirate Xu Hai whose romance with a courtesan metamorphosed from Southeast China to Vietnam, from the 16th century to the 20th century. Yuanfei Wang studies how late Ming cultural memory of Yuan/Ming-Java relations as narrated in unofficial histories and vernacular novel illuminated late 16th century discourse on the pirates Wang Zhi and Chen Zuyi, maritime commerce, and multi-ethnic peoples. Xing Hang examines the contested legacy of the exploits of the late 16th century Chinese pirate Lin Daoqian in China and Southeast Asia. Hang argues that Lin Daoqian’s enigmatic past, and the legends revolving around him, became an instrument for the perpetuation of Chinese communities outside China. Our discussant, Peter Shapinsky, will make comments on the three Chinese cases with comparison to the case of Japan from a transnational perspective. Our chair is Engseng Ho, an expert on pirates across the Indian ocean. 

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Engseng Ho

National University of Singapore Middle East Institute, Singapore

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    Paola Calanca

    École française d'Extrême-Orient, France

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    Xing Hang

    Brandeis University, Massachusetts

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    Peter Shapinsky

    University of Illinois, Springfield, Illinois

    Presentation(s):

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