Ronald C. Po

Dec 24, 2020

The Blue Frontier

Maritime Vision and Power in the Qing Empire

Cambridge University Press 2018

In this revisionist history of the eighteenth-century Qing Empire from a maritime perspective, Ronald C. Po argues that it is reductive to view China over this period exclusively as a continental power with little interest in the sea. With a coastline of almost 14,500 kilometers, the Qing was not a landlocked state. Although it came to be known as an inward-looking empire, Po suggests that the Qing was integrated into the maritime world through its naval development and customs institutionalization. In contrast to our orthodox perception, the Manchu court, in fact, deliberately engaged with the ocean politically, militarily, and even conceptually. The Blue Frontier: Maritime Vision and Power in the Qing Empire (Cambridge UP, 2018) offers a much broader picture of the Qing as an Asian giant responding flexibly to challenges and extensive interaction on all frontiers - both land and sea - in the long eighteenth century within the Indian Ocean World.

Dr. Ronald C. Po is an Associate Professor in the Department of International History at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

The co-host Mohammed al-Sudairi is the Head of Asian Studies at the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies and a Post-doctoral Fellow at the Hong Kong Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences. He tweets @MohammedSudairi.

Ahmed Yaqoub AlMaazmi is a Ph.D. candidate at Princeton University. His research focuses on the intersection of law and the environment across the Western Indian Ocean. He can be reached by email at almaazmi@princeton.edu or on Twitter @Ahmed_Yaqoub. Listeners’ feedback, questions, and book suggestions are most welcome.

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Ahmed Almaazmi

Ahmed Yaqoub AlMaazmi is a Ph.D. candidate at Princeton University. His research focuses on the intersection of law and the environment across the Western Indian Ocean. He can be reached by email at almaazmi@princeton.edu or on Twitter @Ahmed_Yaqoub. Listeners’ feedback, questions, and book suggestions are most welcome.

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