Papers on Modern History I

Transnational
Tuesday
2:00 pm – 3:45 pm
Room A

  • Yulia Khristolyubova, “Chinese, Russian, and British Views on the Structure of the Tea Business in China in the Second Half of the 19th Century”
  • Ting Xu, “The Impact of International Law in Northeast Asia in the Middle and Late 19th Century—A Positive Study Based on the Chinese Translations of Tongwenguan”
  • Olga Alexeeva, “In the Service of the French Empire: Chinese Labour Brokers in Indochina during the First World War”
  • Wenchuan Huang, “Politics of Toponymy: The Historical Geography of the Streetscapes in Hong Kong”

Yulia Khristolyubova, “Chinese, Russian, and British Views on the Structure of the Tea Business in China in the Second Half of the 19th Century”

In the second half of the 19th century, after the victory of the European powers in the Second Opium War, foreign entrepreneurs began to organize firms directly in China. Hankou Port immediately becomes the main centre of the tea trade. The three main participants in the tea business: Chinese, Russian and British entrepreneurs, had different ideas about the emerging business structure and those business opportunities that opened up international agreements for foreigners. The protection of their entrepreneurial interests and the different understanding of their rights, superimposed on the national characteristics of conducting trade, often led to international trade conflicts. Although you can find cases of cooperation and mutual assistance between colonies of foreigners. Diplomatic correspondence, memoirs of participants in events often give a new vision of the events that have taken place, and most importantly, a new understanding of their positions and interpretation of actions. In this work, the author examines these different points of view of national diasporas of tea traders and their strategies of behaviour using the example of historical events and archival materials.

Ting Xu, “The Impact of International Law in Northeast Asia in the Middle and Late 19th Century—A Positive Study Based on the Chinese Translations of Tongwenguan”

Through analyzing the dissemination and acceptance of the Chinese translations of International Law by Tongwenguan in Northeast Asia and combining the change of regional international order in specific historical context, this article investigates the impact of International Law in this area in the middle and late 19th Century. Tongwenguan was the Chinese national translation agency that had translated various famous works about international law into Chinese and first systematically introduced international law into Chinese cultural circle. The translations fully realized the transplantation of the basic structure of the discipline and formed the system of international legal terms in Chinese translation. They were not only recognized by Qing Government but also spread to other countries within Chinese cultural circle and exerted much influence, especially upon Japan. During the Sino-Japanese War (1894–1895), China and Japan adopted international law to safeguard their respective rights. According to the original works of international law and their translations of Tongwenguan, the Chinese, Japanese, and Korean diplomatic archives of modern time, the existing Tongwenguan compilation documents as well as other source materials of letters and memoirs, it concludes that in Northeast Asia of the middle and late 19th Century, because of its authority and popularity, Tongwenguan translations became the most important source of international law knowledge in diplomatic practice and promoted the modern transformation of the traditional international relations in Northeast Asia, in which process, international law gradually entered the perspective of intellectuals of relevant countries and were criticized or misappropriated by them.

Olga Alexeeva, “In the Service of the French Empire: Chinese Labour Brokers in Indochina during the First World War”

At the turn of the 20th century, the French imperial network enabled the subsequent creation of multiple migration routes between different French colonies and dependencies in the Asia-Pacific, thus transforming mobility in the region. Although the French government generated migration by organizing and subsidizing travel and establishing indentured labour regimes, the recruitment operations were often carried by the coolie brokers who thus became important social and political agents of labour relations. Analysing and defining their contribution to the expansion of migrant networks within the French Empire remains an important issue for the colonial history and the for post-colonial studies as well as for the current labour migrations in the Asia-Pacific. During the First World War, France has recruited thousands of Chinese to replace labourers mobilized for the army and to perform all kinds of works related to the allied war effort. The major problem in administration of the labourers was the lack of Chinese-speaking interpreters. Using its imperial connexions, the French colonial administration decided to recruit the interpreters in Indochina among the local second-generation Chinese migrants. While focusing on the recruitment tactics used by the French authorities in Indochina, this paper will assess the role of the local Chinese community in spreading the information about the offered position and finding suitable candidates for the French. Based on the various materials from the French Archives nationales d’outre-mer, this paper will analyse different recruitment arrangements developed by the French in partnership with the local Chinese labour brokers.

Wenchuan Huang, “Politics of Toponymy: The Historical Geography of the Streetscapes in Hong Kong”

The critical study of toponymy has paid considerable attention to the renaming of streets following revolutionary political change since 1980s. Such renaming is intended to institutionalize a new political agenda through shaping the meanings in everyday practices and landscapes. For example, after taking back the foreign concessions in 1943, the Wang Jingwei government eradicated all the streets of Shanghai named after foreign figures. The same case as post-colonial Singapore after 1965, where naming streets served to erase the colonial past and assert national independence. Nevertheless, the most of Colonial-Era Street Names still persisted in the city after Hong Kong’s reunification to China in 1997. This research seeks to advance the critical toponymical study through the history and spatial changes of Hong Kong’s street names to explore the street naming operations of Colonial governance with different block spaces in different periods. And further discusses about memory, local identity and the persistence of Colonial-Era street names after 1997.

Event Timeslots (1)

Room A
-
Transnational