Expertise: Chinese History
Tonio Andrade, Associate Professor (B.A., Reed College, 1992; M.A., University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, 1994; M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D., Yale University, 1997, 1998, and 2000). Chinese History, Global History. Major Books: How Taiwan Became Chinese (New York: Columbia University Press, 2007) and Lost Colony: The Untold Story of Europe’s First War with China (Princeton University Press, 2011). Articles in Journal of World History, Late Imperial China, International Journal of Maritime History, Canadian Journal of Sociology, Itinerario, and Journal of Asian Studies.
I’m part of a new field in historical studies known as Global History, which focuses on commonalities and connections between the myriad societies on the planet rather than on traditionally-defined political or cultural units. My core geographical area of expertise is China, specifically Taiwan, but I focus on maritime interconnections in the Early Modern Period (1500-1800). The main question of my research is: Why did western Europeans, who sat on the far edge of Eurasia and were backward by Asian standards, suddenly rise to global prominence starting in the 1500s, establishing durable maritime empires that spanned the seas?
My first book, How Taiwan Became Chinese (2007), examines how Dutch, Spanish, and Chinese colonization met and competed in the Far East and asks why it was that the Chinese prevailed over the Europeans rather than the other way around, suggesting that political will – that is to say state support for expansion – was a key variable. My second book, Lost Colony (2011), examines the Sino-Dutch War of 1661-1668, Europe’s first war with China and the only significant Sino-European conflict until the Opium War of 1839–42. It asks whether Europeans had – at this early date – any significant advantages in military and naval technology over China and concludes that they did, although not perhaps in the areas people might have expected. I’m now working on a third book, The Age of Expansion, which extends the analysis to other European wars against Asian powers in the early modern period. My aim is to understand European colonialism by rigorous comparison with Asian counterexamples, and I look at state support, the military balance, and most importantly, a sustained increase in transcultural borrowing. I believe that European exceptionalism will truly be understood only through deep cross-cultural comparison. I also enjoy teaching Chinese history and world history.