• Title:Can We Use the Historical Model of Trade in the Mediterranean for Asia?
  • Post Date:2010-05-22
Can We Use the Historical Model of Trade in the Me

The French Center for Research on Contemporary China, Taipei Office
and the Center for Maritime History, RCHSS, Academia Sinica,
have the pleasure to invite you to attend the following lecture:

"Can We Use the Historical Model of Trade in the Mediterranean for Asia?" (in Chinese)
by Prof. François GIPOULOUX (CNRS)


Asia has returned to its central position in the world economy. The first step was Japan's assertion of its formidable innovative and financial power in the 1980s, and this was followed by the sudden arrival of China's manufacturing power in the late 1990s.

This is not a new phenomenon. In the 14th century around the Mediterranean, in the 15th and 16th centuries around the Baltic Sea, and in the 17th and 18th century around the South China Sea, transnational models organised cosmopolitan long-distance trade and financial networks, on foundations of the stable economic and legal institutions which they developed beyond the purview of the central State. To explore these past instances is to cast a revealing light on the present situation.

The Asian Mediterranean consists of several interconnected maritime basins: the Sea of Japan, the Yellow Sea, the South China Sea, the Sulu Sea, and the Celebes Sea. I do not simply propose a geographical or historical model which incorporates several different spaces and cultures, but rather an institutional model pivoting on the autonomous activity of different urban centres, jointly exercising diffuse forms of sovereignty or polycentric power.

Extending from Vladivostok to Singapore, this maritime corridor takes in fragments of various national states and refashions them through a dynamic process which standardizes and harmonizes their mutual interactions. Chinese cities, positioned along the East Asian maritime corridor, are again moving away from the continental, autarchic and collectivist foundations of the early People’s Republic towards the open, trade-centred world of maritime Asia. In so doing, they are reactivating traditions which can be traced back to the great maritime expeditions of the early 15th century and to the pivotal role played by the coastal cities in the maritime world through the nineteenth century and early twentieth century.

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  • Last Update Time:2010-05-22 PM 5:39

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