Not available in 2020/21
EH486      Half Unit
Shipping and Sea Power in Asian Waters, c 1600-1860

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Kent Deng SAR.5.17


This course is available on the MRes/PhD in Quantitative Economic History, MSc in Economic History, MSc in Economic History (Research), MSc in Empires, Colonialism and Globalisation, MSc in Global Economic History (Erasmus Mundus), 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 are expected to write two essays or equivalent pieces of written work.

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 (70%, duration: 2 hours) in the summer exam period.
Essay (30%, 2500 words).

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Economic History

Total students 2019/20: Unavailable

Average class size 2019/20: Unavailable

Controlled access 2019/20: No

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