MRI Forum 22

"Zheng He's Fleet—The Pinnacle of Ancient Chinese Shipbuilding"

Date:

  • 30 May 2006

Location:

  • Macau Ricci Institue

Time:

  • 18:00 to 21:30

Cost:

  • Free

Languages:

  • English

Speaker

Vong Kit Han

Vong Kit Han, responsible for the Maritime History Unit of the Macau Maritime Museum since 1992. Bachelor in History from the University of Jinan in Guangzhou; Master in History from the University of Macau (Instituto de Estudos Portugueses). Her current research interests focus on Chinese maritime history, particularly ancient shipbuilding and Zheng He's voyages.

Ana Brito

Ana Brito, responsible for the Maritime Ethnology Unit of the Macau Maritime Museum since 1995. Graduated in Anthropology from ISCTE, Lisbon and obtained an M. Phil. Degree in Anthropology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 1995. Former lecturer in the Macau Polytechnic Institute and presently invited lecturer of the Institute for European Studies of Macau (IEEM) and the Institute for Tourism Studies of Macau (IFT) where she has been teaching a course on local festivities for the Higher Diploma in Cultural Tourism. Her research interests are the fishing community, traditional shipbuilding, local festivities and religion.

Introduction

In the academic literature, China's stunning economic ascent has been variedly compared with the histories of the East Asian developmental states, the experiences of post-socialist transformation in Eastern Europe, or just as a case of crony capitalism. Less attention has been paid to synthesizing aspects of China's transition and relating it to the process of capitalist development in general. This presentation will apply the capitalist lens to study China and hold that such a reinterpretation provides new insights on China's present and future. Put differently, I will use the originally Eurocentric concept of capitalism, conceive of it in neutral terms as a socio-economic system, and then apply it to interpret the massive transformations occurring in contemporary China. To proceed, I will first work towards a definition of capitalism and with this a measuring stick to judge whether capitalism is really emerging in China. I will then note several of the most prominent institutional characteristics of China's political economy and end with exploring the implications of China's capitalist transition.