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The Tongking Gulf Through History
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The Tongking Gulf Through History

Edited by Nola Cooke, Li Tana, and James A. Anderson

240 pages | 6 x 9 | 27 illus.
Cloth 2011 | ISBN 9780812243369 | $65.00s | Outside the Americas £52.00
Ebook editions are available from selected online vendors
A volume in the series Encounters with Asia
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"An informative picture of trade, economic, and political relationships throughout the Tongking Gulf over an extended period of time: approximately two thousand years. The well-researched essays each contribute fresh insights into the subject of maritime trade and premodern global connections in the region."—Erica Brindley, Pennsylvania State University

"So little has been written about the periods that this work covers, and no one has ever taken a regional approach like this. Hopefully this volume will inspire people to look more closely at this region and these periods."—Liam C. Kelley, University of Hawai'i

Since 2005, a series of significant developments has been unfolding in the area of the Tongking Gulf under the rubric of an ambitious project called "Two Corridors and One Rim." Proposed by Vietnam in 2004 and enthusiastically embraced by China, the project is designed to link their shared shores and hinterlands by superhighways and high-speed rail. An area that had seemed a backwater for two hundred years has suddenly become a dynamic engine of growth.

Yet how innovative are these developments? Drawing on fresh historical insights and recent archaeological research in northern Vietnam and southern China, The Tongking Gulf Through History reveals that this region has long been a center of cultural, political, and economic exchange. From a historical point of view, contributors argue, the Gulf of Tongking has come full circle. Inspired by the Braudelian vision that regionality arises from long-term human interactions, essays avoid state-centered approaches of nationalist histories to focus on local communities throughout the Gulf. In doing so, they reveal a complex pattern of interrelationships and geopolitical factors that has shaped the gulf region for over two millennia.

The first half of the volume covers the era from the Neolithic to the tenth century, when an independent state emerged from old Chinese Jiaozhi, or modern northern Vietnam; the second surveys the nine centuries that followed, in which only two states came to share the maritime shores of the Tongking Gulf. Together, the essays illuminate how millennia of recurring human interactions within this geographical space have created a regional ensemble with its own longstanding historical integrity and dynamics.

Nola Cooke is English-Language Editor of the journal Chinese Southern Diaspora Studies and Visiting Fellow at the Centre for the Study of the Chinese Southern Diaspora at The Australian National University.

Li Tana is Senior Fellow at the School of Culture, History, and Language and Director of the Centre for the Study of the Chinese Southern Diaspora at The Australian National University.

James A. Anderson is Associate Professor of History at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro.

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