From the 14th to 19th centuries, the countries of East Asia were engaged in rich economic, diplomatic, and cultural exchange. While land-based connections are the focus of textbook narratives, this region also was linked closely by sea. The seas carried diplomats representing their states in the tributary system. Commercial cargo ships transported Confucian texts, porcelain, silver and more. Pirates navigated the waters smuggling, raiding ports, and instigating rebellions. And Japanese, Korean, and Chinese soldiers sailed into battle in the largest war in the 16th-century world.
Using the lens of maritime history, this institute offers secondary social studies teachers an opportunity to work with scholars and specialists to re-center historical studies of early modern East Asia from national histories of China, Japan, and Korea to narratives focusing on the sea- based, transborder people, institutions, and practices that connected the region. In this online institute, teachers will gain an understanding of the political, economic, and cultural systems of the early modern East Asian world and reconsider narratives of encounters and conflicts with European imperialist powers.