The Making of Chinese Hegemony in Early Modern East Asia

2017 One Asia Forum Talk Series with speaker Dr. Jiyoung Lee (American University)

Event Details

Start: 09 November 2017 4:00 pm
End: 09 November 2017 6:00 pm
Venue: Room 604, Asian Centre


Many have viewed the tribute system as China’s tool for projecting its power and influence in East Asia, treating other actors as passive recipients of Chinese domination. In this talk, Lee argues that the international order of Asia’s past was not as Sinocentric as conventional wisdom suggests. Instead, throughout the early modern period, Chinese hegemony was accepted, defied, and challenged by its East Asian neighbors at different times, depending on these leaders’ strategies for legitimacy among their populations. She shows how Chinese hegemony and hierarchy were not just an outcome of China’s military power or Confucian culture but were constructed while interacting with other, less powerful actors’ domestic political needs, especially in conjunction with internal power struggles. Focusing on China-Korea-Japan dynamics of East Asian international politics during the Ming and High Qing periods, she also discusses how Asia’s past might matter for the future of regional order with China’s rise.


About the speaker:

Dr. Ji-Young Lee is an Assistant Professor of International Relations at American University’s School of International Service, where she holds the C. W. Lim and Korea Foundation Professorship of Korean Studies. Her research focuses on Asian international relations and history. She is the author of “China’s Hegemony: Four Hundred Years of East Asian Domination” (Columbia University Press, 2016) and is currently working on a project on the future the U.S. alliance system in East Asia with China’s rise. Prior to AU, she was an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Politics and East Asian Studies at Oberlin College, where she taught as a Visiting Assistant Professor. She was a POSCO visiting fellow at the East-West Center and a non-resident James Kelly Korean Studies Fellow with the Pacific Forum Center for Strategic and International Studies. She received a B.A. from Ewha Womans University and an M.A. from Seoul National University in Korea, and received a Ph.D. from Georgetown University’s Government Department.