EH486      Half Unit
Shipping and Sea Power in Asian Waters, c 1600-1860

This information is for the 2015/16 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Kent Deng SAR 605


This course is available on the MA Global Studies: A European Perspective, MRes in Quantitative Economic History, MSc in Economic History, MSc in Economic History (Research), MSc in Empires, Colonialism and Globalisation, MSc in Global History, MSc in International and World History (LSE & Columbia) and MSc in Political Economy of Late Development. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

This course examines the development of shipping, sea power and maritime-related industries in East and Southeast Asia, c1600-1860.

Topics include: Introduction to theories and models. Sailing conditions and sea routes in Asian waters. Strategic importance of Asian waters in the global sense. Development of shipping technology. Emergence of naval capacity. Function and pattern of long-distance trade; formation of regional markets and networks; linkages to the home economy. Migration. Investments and returns. Role of governments. Impact of modern capitalism. Regional hegemony. The context of the process and impact of globalisation in Asia.


10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars in the LT. 1 hour of lectures and 1 hour of seminars in the ST.

Taught during the LT. 10 weekly one hour lecture followed by one hour seminar in which student papers will be presented and discussed.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce two essays of up to 2,000 words during the course, one due at the end of the 4th week and the other at the end of the 9th week (see below).

Indicative reading

K Bjork, 'The link that kept the Philippines Spanish: Mexican merchant interests and the Manila trade, 1571B1815' in Journal of World History, 1 (1998), 25B50; K N Chaudhuri, The Trading World of Asia and the English East India Company (1978); Gang Deng, Chinese Maritime Activities and Socioeconomic Development c2100 b.c.B1900 a.d. (1997); Gang Deng, Maritime Sector, Institutions and Sea Power of Premodern China (1999); D Flynn & A Giraldez, 'Born with a "Silver Spoon": World Trade's Origins in 1571' in Journal of World History, Vol6, No 2 (1995); Yen-P'ing Hao, The Commercial Revolution in Nineteenth-Century China: The Rise of Sino-Western Mercantile Capitalism (1986); Yen-P'ing Hao, The Compradore in Nineteenth-Century China: Bridge between East and West (1970); L Levathes, When China Ruled the Seas: The Treasure Fleet of the Dragon Throne, 1405-1433 (1994); W Schurz, The Manila Galleon (1985: originally 1938); A So, The South China Silk District: Local Transformation and World-System Theory (1986); M Tampoe, Maritime Trade between China and the West (1989).


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours) in the main exam period.

Key facts

Department: Economic History

Total students 2014/15: 8

Average class size 2014/15: 6

Controlled access 2014/15: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills