International Relations in the Early Modern East Asia: The Role of “Intermediaries”

Course Type: Lecture
Study Focus: SEG

Teacher: ZHANG, Zikang
Course Code: JK17010

Unlike modern diplomatic relations, which are based on direct negotiations by diplomats representing the two governments, one of the major characteristics of international relations in the early modern (seventeenth century to mid-nineteenth century) East Asia is the significant role played by intermediaries.

These intermediaries include various personnel such as merchants, seamen, and priests, but the most important would be the “interpreters”. The duties of interpreters in early modern East Asia were much more complex than their modern counterparts. Aside from being the linguistic intermediaries in communications, they also served as negotiators in diplomatic and commercial relations. This course will explore the specific ways in which international relations in the early modern East Asian region were maintained and managed through the role of interpreters and other intermediaries.

Course Information

Module: Research 1-3
CATS Requirements: BA 3rd. year or above

Day/Period: Thu. 4
Location: Sem. 9
Credits: 2

Course Goals

Through this course, students will be able to (1) have a comprehensive knowledge of the historical background on international relations in the East Asian region, and (2) deepen their understanding of the contemporary East Asian region as well. Students will also (3) gain a new perspective on the relative nature of contemporary diplomacy and international relations.

Course Schedule and Evaluation

For a detailed course schedule, please visit KULASIS.

Evaluation is based on an active participation in class (25%) and , final paper and presentation (75%).
(- Mid-term progress report – 20%)
(- Presentation of the Final Paper – 25% )
(- Final Paper – 30%)