Global Cities, Incoherent Communities: Communication, Coexistence, and Conflict in Macau and Manila, 1550-1700


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




This project explores the evolution of cross-cultural relations in Macau and Manila, which emerged as centers of global trade following the arrival of Portuguese and Spaniards in the sixteenth century. In each place, subjects of the Iberian empires came together with the seafaring people of southeastern China to engage in commercial exchange, while European missionaries worked to convert Chinese to Catholicism. Yet, whereas previous scholarship has presented Macau as a model of multicultural coexistence and Sino-Portuguese hybridity, it has emphasized the tense and often violent relationship between Spaniards and Chinese in Manila. Through a careful examination of the way Portuguese, Spaniards, and Chinese communicated with one another, this dissertation suggests that the strength or weakness of channels of inter-linguistic communication – shaped by relations between Iberian merchants and state officials, European missionaries, and Chinese traders and laborers – contributed to the divergent paths of cross-cultural interaction and community formation in Macau and Manila.