Dr Ronald C. Po

Dr Ronald C. Po

Assistant Professor

Department of International History

+44 (0)20 7107 5378
Room No
Office Hours
Wednesdays, 15:30-17:30

About me

While the main focus of my teaching and research has been the history of late imperial China, I am drawn to the realm of maritime and global studies. I am particularly interested in the ways in which the maritime world has been mapped, conceptualized, and imagined. I agree with John F. Kennedy, “We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch – we are going back from whence we came.”

I have published refereed articles on Chinese history and maritime studies in the United States, England, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and South Korea. Before joining the LSE, I was Postdoctoral Fellow at McGill University (2013-16) and Visiting Lecturer at the University of Chicago (2013). I was also previously an Erasmus Scholar at Cambridge (2011-12) and a Baden-Württemberg Fellow at Kyoto University (2012).

I was educated at Universität Heidelberg, receiving my D.Phil. in History, and at Hong Kong Baptist University, earning my M.Phil. and BA degrees.

Other titles: LSE–Peking University Double MSc in International Affairs Programme Director


History of China; Maritime Studies; History of Cartography; Frontier Studies; Global History

Teaching & supervision

Dr Ronald C. Po teaches the following courses:

At undergraduate level:

HY330: From Tea to Opium: China and the Global Market in the Long Eighteenth Century

At Masters level:

HY472: China and the External World. 1711-1839




• The Blue Frontier: Maritime Vision and Power in the Qing Empire (under contract with Cambridge University Press)

Articles & chapters


• “Shi Lang: Hero or Villain? His Evolving Legacy in China and Taiwan,” Modern Asian Studies (accepted to be published in 2018)

• "Tea, Porcelain, and Silk Export," in Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Asian History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016-17).


• “A Port City in Northeast China: Dengzhou in the Long Eighteenth Century,” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (accepted to be published in print soon, already available online)

• “Camphor-harvesting and Warship Construction in Early Qing China (康雍年間的戰船修造與樟木採辦)" (in Chinese), in Ricardo Mak (ed.) History of Coastal Defense in Modern China: A Revisionist Approach (近代中國海防史新論) (Hong Kong, Joint Publishing Co. Ltd., 2017), pp. 252-277.


• “Mapping Maritime Power and Control: A Study of the Late Eighteenth Century Qisheng yanhai tu (A Coastal Map of the Seven Provinces),” Late Imperial China, vol. 37 no. 2 (December 2016), pp. 93-136.


• “Writing the Waves: Chinese Maritime Writers in the Long Eighteenth Century,” American Journal of Chinese Studies, vol. 22, no. 2 (October, 2015), pp. 343-362.


• “Maritime Countries in the Far West: Western Europe in Xie Qinggao’s Records of the Sea,” European Review of History, vol. 21, no. 6 (December, 2014), pp. 857-871.


• “Merchants, Artisans, Grangers and Intellectuals: Xue Fucheng’s Re-conceptualization of the Social Stratification in Late Imperial China,” Chinese Culture Quarterly, vol. 31 (April, 2013), pp. 81-101.


• “(Re) Conceptualizing the World in Eighteenth Century China,” World History Connected, vol. 9, no. 1 (February 2012).


• “Zuozhu weizhi: Ding Richang 1843 nian zhi 1864 nian de zaimu shengya 佐主為治: 丁日昌1843年至1864年的在幕生涯 (Assisting the Patron: Ding Richang as a muliao, 1843-1864),” in Modern History Research Center (ed.) Ding Richang yu jindai Zhongguo 丁日昌與近代中國 (Ding Richang and Modern China) (Hong Kong: Zhonghua shuju, 2011), pp. 17-36.


• “‘Zeng Zuo Li’ yi jiancheng de youlai yu neirong hanyi zhi yanbian 曾左李一簡稱的由來與內容涵義之演變 (The Triumvirate in Late Imperial China: A Discussion on the Abbreviation Zeng-Zuo-Li),” Si yu yan 思與言 (Thought and Words: Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences Quarterly), vol. 48 no. 3 (September, 2010), pp. 1-36.

• “When the Sea Dragon Roars: Hydrological Disasters and the High Qing Emperors,” The School of Historical Studies, Newcastle University: Postgraduate Forum E-Journal, edition seven (2010), pp. 1-9.


• “Qingji HuaYang muliao de hezuo yu hudong: Yi Mashi(H.B. Morse), Ma Xiangbo yu Ma Jianzhong zai Li Hongzhang mufu de guanxi weili 清季華洋幕僚的合作與互動: 以馬士 (H.B. Morse), 馬相伯與馬建忠在李鴻章幕府的關係為例 (Cooperation between Chinese and Foreign Muliao in Li Hongzhang’s Think Tank: With References to Ma Xiangbo, Ma Jianjong and H.B. Morse).” Chungguksa Yongu 中國史研究 (The Journal of Chinese Historical Researches), no. 63 (December 2009), pp. 121-135.

• “Qingji yangyuan zai Tai zhi renzhi: Yi Ma Shi (H.B. Morse) zai Danshuiguan de jiaose yu yingxiang weili 清季洋員在臺之任職: 以馬士 (H.B. Morse) 在淡水關的角色與影響為例 (Western Advisers in Late Qing: H.B. Morse in Taiwan, 1892-1895),” Xinbeida shixue 新北大史學, vol. 7 (October, 2009), pp. 59-82.

• “Xianggang chuban Zhongguo jindaishi yanjiu zhushu: Zhongwen shumu xinian (1930-2009) 香港出版中國近代史研究著述: 中文書目繫年(1930-2009) A Selected Bibliography on Modern Chinese History Published in Hong Kong,” Contemporary Historical Review, vol. 10, no.2 (June, 2009), pp. 60-72.


• “Qingji xifang guwen zai Hua de siying: Yi Mashi zhi zaimu shengya zuoli 清季西方顧問在華的肆應: 以馬士之在幕生涯作例 (Western muliao in Late Qing: Hosea Ballou Morse Encountered with Li Hongzhang's mufu),” Zhongzheng lishi xuekan 中正歷史學刊, vol. 11 (December, 2008), pp. 23-48.

Book reviews & review articles


• “Another Frontier: Review Article on the Taiwan shushi boshi lishi xueshu wenku [funü / xingbie] (The collection of master and doctoral theses in Taiwan [women / gender]) edited by Hou Jie,” Nan Nü: Men, Women and Gender in China.


• “Book Review on Gang Zhao’s The Qing Opening to the Ocean,” Business History, vol. 59, no. 2 (2017), pp. 312-313.


• “Haiyangshi shijiao xia de Zhongwai guanxishi 海洋史視角下的中外關係史 (The history of Sino-foreign relations from a maritime historical perspective),” Hanxue yanjiu 漢學研究 (Chinese Studies), vol. 30 no. 1 (March, 2012), pp. 351-357.

• “Book Review: Old Worlds, New Worlds: European Cultural Encounters, c. 1000-1750edited by Lisa Bailey, Lindsay Diggelmann, and Kim M. Phillips,” Journal of the Oxford University History Society, Issue 8 (Hilary, 2012).


• “Shijie shi shiye xia de Zhongguo tiyushi - Xu Guoqi de Olympic Dreams: China and Sports, 1895-2008 世界史視野下的中國體育史 - 徐國琦的 Olympic Dreams: China and Sports, 1895-2008 (Global History and the History of Sport: Review on Xu's Olympic),” Hanxue yanjiu tongxun 漢學研究通訊 (Newsletter for Research in Chinese Studies), vol. 30, no. 2 (May, 2011), pp. 59-60.


• “Keji, yiliao de renwen guanhuai: Keji, yiliao yu shehui xueshu yantaohui lunwenji 科技, 醫療的人文關懷: 科技, 醫療與社會學術研討會論文集(Book Review: Keji, yiliao yu shehui xueshu yantaohui lunwenji),” Hong Kong Journal of Social Sciences, no. 38 (Spring/Summer, 2010), pp. 147-152.

• “Book Review: Leprosy in China: A History,” Twenty-First Century, vol. 119 (June, 2010), pp. 152-155.


• Co-author with Hoi-ling LUI, “Book reviews of Zhonghua wenhua de chuancheng yu chuangxin: Jinian Mou Fuli jiaoshou lunwenji (中華文化的傳承與創新: 紀念牟復禮教授論文集) and The Scholars Mind: Essays in Honor of Frederick W. Mote,” History Education Forum, vol. 5 (May, 2009), pp. 126-131.

Conference reports


• “Report on International Symposium: Globalization, Identity, and Regional Integration in East Asia, 1861-2011,” Asian Studies Newsletter (The Association for Asian Studies), vol. 56 no. 2 (May, 2011), p. 24.


• “Report on Annual Conference of the Cluster of Excellence: Asia and Europe in a Global Context, Heidelberg University,” Asian Studies Newsletter (The Association for Asian Studies), vol. 55 no. 4 (December, 2010), pp. 12-14.

Other contributions


• “The Great Qing and the Third Frontier in the Eighteenth Century,” Asian Studies Newsletter (The Association for Asian Studies), vol. 56, no. 3 (October, 2011), p. 22.


• “The East Asian Mediterranean?: The ‘Braudelian Framework’ and Maritime History in East Asia,” Asian Studies Newsletter (The Association for Asian Studies), vol. 56, no. 2 (May, 2011), p. 20.

News & media


Guest Panelist on Nationalism Symposium at LSE

Dr Po will was a guest panelist in a symposium organised by the LSE Student Union Hong Kong Public Affairs and Social Service Society. The symposium, entitled Nationalism: On Catalonia, HK and USA, was held on 22 November. Other panelists included Dr Jonathan Hopkin (LSE Government), Dr Toni Rodon (LSE European Institute) and Dr John Hutchinson (LSE Government).


New article on 18th C. Northeast Chinese port city Dengzhou

Dr Po’s newest article, entitled “A Port City in Northeast China: Dengzhou in the Long Eighteenth Century”, was released online in September 2017 by the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society. In his article, Dr Po investigates the importance of Northeast China's port cities by focusing particular attention on the less familiar coastal seaport of Dengzhou. By detailing and examining the political and economic importance of this port city in the early modern period, Dr Po shows that Qing China's northeastern coast was no less important than the southeast. Even if China's northern port cities might not have been as economically vibrant as those in the south (e.g. Shanghai, Canton, Xiamen, and Macau), one should not overlook their functions and histories. Indeed, they also attained unique patterns of political and economic development throughout the long eighteenth century. LSE users, can access the article freely in the publisher's website.


Dr Ronald C. Po in Hong Kong for public lecture

Dr Po was in Hong Kong on 14 September to give a public lecture at the Hong Kong Baptist University. His lecture was on “What is Maritime History? Some Observations and Reflections”.


LSE Santander Travel Research Fund

Dr Ronald C. Po was awarded a LSE Santander Travel Research Fund in December 2016 to visit universities in Hong Kong and South Korea, from late June to July 2017, where he will give talks and seminars. He will also conduct archival research to develop his new project, entitled “A Global History of Camphor: From an Oleoresin to a Commodity", and attend two international conferences, namely the AAS-in-Asia Conference (in Seoul) and the International Convention of Asia Scholars (ICAS) in Chingmai. Both highly regarded in the field of Asian studies.


Heidelberg University interview

Read an interview conducted by the Heidelberg University in 2013.