2018 Annual Conference

Date: August 20 - 22, 2018

Venue: Room 1505, NYU Shanghai


The migration of Indo-Europeans in the fourth millennium BCE shaped the earliest connections between the landmasses that later became known as Europe and Asia. Over the subsequent millennia, sporadic pathways became well-travelled routes, with stable settlements and infrastructures that sustained and encouraged the repeated movements of people across Eurasia. Laborers, traders, missionaries, conquerors, tourists, translators, and scholars from a variety of linguistic, ethnic and religious backgrounds crisscrossed the two regions. As a result of human travel, the circulations of commodities, religious ideas, technical skills, medical knowledge, artistic styles, and literary traditions between the two regions influenced and re-shaped the local social and cultural worlds of communities separated by great distances. These circulations took place through overland as well as maritime routes, and, in recent years, by air as well.

The third annual conference of the Center for Global Asia focuses on many of these connectivities and circulations between and across Europe and Asia.  With panels ranging from the translation of astronomical concepts to the consumption of tea across Eurasia, from the historical movements of religious ideas to the contemporary movements of migrants throughout the region, the conference provides a space for scholars from different humanistic and social scientific disciplines to discuss work covering multiple areas and time periods of Eurasian history. The goal of the conference is to move beyond the nation-state as the primary axis of scholarly analysis and to place local and global developments into dialogue with one another.

A special highlight of the program is the keynote address to be delivered by Professor Morris Rossabi, which examines the crucial role of the Mongols in connecting the two continents. The final day of the conference also includes two panels related to NYU’s project on “Port City Environments in Global Asia,” which has been generously funded by the Henry Luce Foundation. Hosted by New York University, Shanghai and the Center for Global Asia, the conference is co-sponsored by the Asia Research Center, Fudan University; New York University, New York; the Institute of China Studies, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences; and the Henry Luce Foundation. 

Together the analysis of Eurasian connections and port cities environments demonstrate the entangled world of global Asia and offers innovative ways of understanding the historical and contemporary relations among regions and societies.       


New York University Abu Dhabi

New York University

University of Cambridge

Kyushu University

New York University

NYU Shanghai

NYU Shanghai

Shanghai Jiaotong University


Beijing Foreign Studies University

Sun Yat-Sen University

Rikkyo University

New York University

NYU Shanghai

Xiamen University

New York University

Kyoto University

University of Sussex

Columbia University

New York University

New York University Abu Dhabi

Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences

New York University Abu Dhabi

University of California Riverside

City University of New York; Columbia Unviersity

Kyushu University

NYU Shanghai

University of Science and Technology of China

University of Salzburg



New York University Abu Dhabi

New York University

The British Museum

New York University

NYU Shanghai and Fudan University



August 20, 2018

Chair:  Max Moerman

09:20-09:40  Bill Mak (Kyoto University, Japan)

Greek Astral Science in China

09:40-10:00  Yoichi Isahaya (Rikkyo University, Japan)

The “Second” Impact on Chinese Astral Tradition: Islamicate Astral Knowledge in the Yuan-Ming Period

10:00-10:20  Lisa Raphals (University of California Riverside, USA)

Matteo Ricci’s Greek Sources and Chinese Writings

10:20-10:40  Yunli Shi (University of Science and Technology of China, China)

From Scientific Understanding to Cultural Fantasy: Chinese Image of Islamic Astronomy in the Ming and Qing Period

10:40-11:20  DISCUSSION

Chair:  Mark Swislocki

11:30-11:50  Yong Liu (Xiamen University, China)

The Dutch Tea Trade with China in the Early Modern Period

11:50-12:10  Alan Crawford (Shanghai Jiaotong University, China)

The Tea Trade with China in Russian Imperial Imaginaries (19th/early 20th centuries)

12:10-12:30  Chao Huang (Sun Yat-Sen University, China)

The Ultimate Seal of Approval: The Use of Lead and Tin in the Chinese Tea Trade during the 18th and 19th Centuries

12:30-12:50  Kunbing Xiao (NYU Shanghai, China)

The Transmission of Bohea: Chinese Black Tea in International Tea Trade (17th-19th Centuries)

12:50-13:30  DISCUSSION

Chair:  David Ludden

15:00-15:20  Ka-Kin Cheuk (NYU Shanghai, China)

The Emerging China-Netherlands Flower Trade and Its Eurasian Mobility Nexus

15:20-15:40  Magnus Marsden (University of Sussex, UK)

Afghan Networks and Circulations in and beyond Eurasia

15:40-16:00  Paul Anderson (University of Cambridge, UK)

Rethinking the “War Economy”: Locating Syria in Eurasian Trade Routes

16:00-16:20  Kyoko Shinozaki (University of Salzburg, Austria) 

Higher Education Institutions as Transnational Knowledge Brokers

16:20-17:00  DISCUSSION

17:30-19:00  Morris Rossabi (City University of New York, USA; Columbia University, USA)

Mongol Impact on Eurasia: Lasting Influences

August 21, 2018

Chair:  Heather Lee

09:00-09:20  Duane Corpis (NYU Shanghai, China)

Eighteenth-Century German and English Missionary Projects in the Indian Ocean: Local Translations across Global Networks

09:20-09:40  Chenxin Jiang (University of Chicago, USA)

Richard Wilhelm and Conversion in Translation

09:40-10:00  Ke Zhang (Fudan University, China)

The Changing Image of Martin Luther in Late Qing China

10:00-10:40  DISCUSSION

Chair: Duane Corpis

11:00-11:20  Jia Si (Fudan University, China)

Reflections on Chinese Civilization: Arnold J. Toynbee’s 1929 Journey to China

11:20-11:40  Jun Gu (Beijing Foreign Studies University, China)

Modernity and Nationalism: Lu Xun’s Translation of European Fiction, 1902-1909

11:40-12:00  Xi Gao (Fudan University, China)

Western Study of the History of Chinese Medicine in the Nineteenth Century

12:00-12:40  DISCUSSION

Chair:  Bill Mak

14:10-14:30  Cynthea J. Bogel (Kyushu University, Japan)

Cosmoscapes and Hybrid Traces on an Eighth-century Japanese Buddhist Icon

14:30-14:50  Max Moerman (Columbia University, USA)

Japan, Jambudvipa, and the European World: Cartographic and Cosmological Hybridity in Japanese Folding Screens

14:50-15:10  Anton Schweizer (Kyushu University, Japan)

Clad in Otherness: Imported Materials on Japanese Campaign Coats

15:10-15:50  DISCUSSION

Chair:  Lisa Raphals

16:10-16:30  David Ludden (New York University, USA)

Eurasian Trade and Imperial Nations in Southern Asia

16:30-16:50  Rochelle Almeida (New York University, USA)

Westward Ho! Eurasian (Anglo-Indian) Immigrants, Sea Ports, Steamers, and Passenger Culture in Mid-twentieth Century India

16:50-17:10  Wifag Adnan (NYU Abu Dhabi, UAE)

The Role of Culture and Institutions in the Social Mobility of EU Immigrants and their Descendants

17:10-17:50  DISCUSSION

August 22, 2018

Chair:  Kunbing Xiao

09:00-09:20  Weilin Pan (Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, China)

The 19th Century European Travelers and the Chinese “Hell Money” Collections in Europe

09:20-09:40  Helen Wang (The British Museum, UK)

Western Interest in Chinese Money – The Beginnings of East Asian Numismatics

09:40-10:00  Qing Sun (Fudan University, China)

To View the Magic Images from Lens (jingying): The Early Experiences about Magic Lantern as Urban Residents1670-1921

10:00-10:40  DISCUSSION

Chair:  Magnus Marsden

11:00-11:20  Ayesha Omer (New York University, USA)

Future Imaginaries of Gwadar Port Terminal: Mediating Trans-regional Encounters along the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

11:20-11:40  Mikiya Koyagi (New York University, USA) 

Sikh Drivers in the Indo-Iranian Borderlands

11:40-12:00  Heather Lee (NYU Shanghai, China)

Restaurant Politics: How the Chinese Brokered Alliances with New York’s Political Machine, 1878-1887

12:00-12:40  DISCUSSION

Chair:  Kyoko Shinozaki

14:10-14:30  Alex Boodrookas (New York University, USA)

The Making of a Citizen-Merchant Class: The Reorientation of Credit Networks in the Persian Gulf, 1940-1965

14:30-14:50  Jerome Whitington (New York University, USA)

Thailand’s Model Event: Insurance, Industrialization and Climate-Related Flooding

14:50-15:10  Robert Parthesius (NYU Abu Dhabi, UAE)

The “Unpredictable Past(s)” of UNESCO World Heritage Sites

15:10-15:50  DISCUSSION

Chair:  Tansen Sen

16:10-16:30  Norman Underwood (New York University, USA) 

Buying Silk and Frankincense in Late Roman Egypt

16:30-16:50  Christopher Paik (NYU Abu Dhabi, UAE) 

The Global Economic Order before (and after) Western Hegemony: Chinese-Middle Eastern Trade from the Silk Road to “the Belt and Road” Initiative

16:50-17:10  Mark Swislocki (NYU Abu Dhabi, UAE)

Scaling Zomia from the Shore: Anglo-American Learning about Yunnan from Canton in the Mid-Nineteenth Century

17:10-17:50  DISCUSSION

Keynote Address

Mongol Impact on Eurasia:
Lasting Influence

Professor Morris Rossabi

City University of New York, USA; Columbia University, USA

Date: August 20, 2018 | 17:30-19:00

Venue: Auditorium, NYU Shanghai

Starting in the 1980s, specialists challenged the conventional wisdom about the Mongol Empire’s almost entirely destructive influence on global history.  They asserted that that Mongols promoted vital economic, social, and cultural exchanges among civilizations.  Chinggis Khan, Khubilai Khan, and other rulers supported trade, adopted policies of toleration toward foreign religions, and served as patrons of the arts, architecture, and theater.  Exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art confirmed that the Mongol era witnessed extraordinary developments in painting, ceramics, manuscript illustration, and textiles.  To be sure, specialists did not ignore the destruction and killings that the Mongols engendered.

This reevaluation has prompted both sophisticated and less well-informed analyses of the Mongols’ legacy in Eurasian history.  The Ming dynasty, the Mongols’ successor in China, adopted some of the principles of Mongol military organization and tactics and were exposed to Tibetan Buddhism and Persian astronomy and medicine.  The Mongols introduced agricultural techniques, porcelain, and artistic motifs to the Middle East, and supported historical writing, and Sufism.  Europeans became aware, via the Mongols, of Asian products, as well as technological, scientific, and philosophical innovations in the Middle East and were motivated to find sea routes to South and East Asia.  Less well-informed popularizers have gone to extremes, portraying Chinggis Khan as a democrat and a believer in religious toleration and women’s rights.

This illustrated lecture assesses the lasting impact of the Mongols in promoting contacts between East and West Eurasia.

本次活动主持为 Joanna Waley-Cohen, Provost and Affiliated Professor of History, NYU Shanghai; Julius Silver Professor of History, NYU. 


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