This panel centers on the collection, production, and circulation of intelligence across borders, empires, and cultures in East Asia from the fifteenth to nineteenth century. It reconsiders the historical and contemporary meanings of East Asia by conceptualizing the region as a site of multilayered intelligence activities and highlighting the roles of its transregional intelligence agents in premodern times. It focuses on the under-appreciated social and cultural dimensions of intelligence, examining how its making was shaped by the perceptions of people with diverse backgrounds and their interactions across administrative and sociocultural boundaries. Peter Shapinsky explores the cartographic representation of a multiethnic pirate lair and navigational hub in the Japanese archipelago produced as a result of the cross-cultural dialogues of Japanese warlords, monks, and mariners with the agents of Ming China and Chosŏn Korea. Ashleigh Ikemoto assesses the benefits of espionage for advancing Spanish imperial designs in late-sixteenth-century China by exploring how the Spanish friars and merchants established connections with diasporic Chinese interpreters and Ming officials. Jing Liu examines the cross-cultural intelligence networks of different regimes across the northern Yellow Sea region during the Ming-Qing transition where border-crossing people facilitated the regional integration of the early modern northeast Asian littoral. Gary Luk explores how a local elite in wartime China used his administative experience, financial knowledge, and social connections to faciliate British rule in Ningbo and shape the competing yet partly overlapping Qing and British intelligence networks in Zhejiang during the Opium War (1839–1842).
Paper Presenter: Peter Shapinsky – University of Illinois, Springfield
Paper Presenter: Ashleigh Ikemoto – Georgia College and State University
Paper Presenter: Jing Liu – Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences
Paper Presenter: Gary Luk – Hong Kong Polytechnic University