Traversing the Nanyang: Merchant Enclaves, Chinese Junk Networks, and the Making of the Colonial Capitalism in French Cochinchina (1860 to 1940)


Henry Luce Foundation/ACLS Program in China Studies Predissertation-Summer Travel Grants




My dissertation is a social and economic history of the intra-oceanic junk trade between Southern China’s entrepots and the riverine trading emporia of the Mekong Delta in French Cochinchina from 1860 until 1940. Utilizing Chinese, French, and Vietnamese sources, I explore how junk networks were constituted and operated between China's port cities and Cochinchina (southern Vietnam); how the ebbs and flows of capital, migration, and culture contributed to the development of political economies in Southern China and Vietnam; and how junk economy and the migratory patterns it shaped affected local societies. Bridging the disjuncture in 19th-century historiography of maritime China, Vietnam, and colonialism, I demonstrate the centrality of the junk trade to the making of Nanyang as a contiguous ocean, and to the development of Chinese capitalism in the Greater China Sea as a historically unifying and interconnected maritime region.