Department of Chinese and History – Two International Conferences and One Lecture Series

The Department of Chinese and History (CAH) hosted two international conferences in June and July 2015 with the theme of China's coastal cities and East Asia's maritime networks in earlier and modern times. Renowned scholars and experts from mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Canada, the US, and Singapore were invited to share their insights in Hong Kong.

In addition, the Department has hosted again a series of 14 lectures collectively entitled "China and the Asian Community in Retrospect and Prospect 2015 – 16".

International Conference on China's Coastal Cities in Earlier Times and Their Modern Transformation

Entitled "China's Coastal Cities in Earlier Times and Their Contemporary Transformation", the first international conference was held by CAH in mid-June. A total of 22 scholars from mainland China, Hong Kong and overseas were invited to present papers on China's coastal cities in earlier and contemporary times, which systematically explored such topics as cultural exchanges, migration, business networks, and traditional festivities of China, Southeast Asia, Japan, and European countries, so as to scrutinise the ethnic mix and multi-cultural co-existence with mobility as found in the residents of those coastal cities.

Towards the end of the conference, the scholars arrived at several points of consensus. They agreed that the concept of "coastal cities" was not a static one but the result of changes and evolution over time, that those cities should be examined against the macroscopic background of time and space, and that in studying the coastal cities greater emphasis should be placed on the rich cultural traditions embedded in their terrestrial characters than on their maritime ones.

International Conference on the Maritime World of East Asia in 16th – 19th Centuries

The International Conference on the Maritime World of East Asia in the 16th – 19th Centuries held in July was a key event in the collaboration project set up by CityU and the National Palace Museum (NPM) in Taipei. The conference was hosted by CAH at CityU and co-organised by the NPM and Hong Kong Maritime Museum.

More than 20 experts on culture and history from the US, Singapore, Taiwan, mainland China, Macao, and Hong Kong attended the conference. Their discussions centred around five major topics, namely China's ship-building technology and its navy's growth in modern times; the pirates and maritime merchants active in sea areas of Southeast and Northeast Asia and China's coastal areas; how Chinese central and local governments fought the pirates and drafted regulations on maritime trade in the Ming and Qing Dynasties; relations between the gentry, pirates, and merchants in China; and the maritime trade, port building, and folk customs in East and Southeast Asia since the Ming and Qing Dynasties.

China and the Asian Community in Retrospect and Prospect

In addition to the above-said conferences, CAH has also invited experts on literature, history, and philosophy from Japan, South Korea, the US, Taiwan, and mainland China to deliver talks in a series of 14 lectures collectively entitled "China and the Asian Community in Retrospect and Prospect". It is expected that the lectures will help to bring about in-depth analyses of the diversity of academic and cultural exchanges across Asia in contemporary periods, and exploration of the cultural, economic, and political evolution throughout history across Asia — particularly in East Asian and Northeast Asian nations — so as to decipher the interwoven ties among them. The lecture series has been sponsored by One Asia Foundation with its generous funding of over JPY 10 million, which has been a great help to our cultural exchanges.