Writing Pirates: Vernacular Fiction and Oceans in Seventeenth Century China (University of Michigan Press, May 2021) examines an emerging Chinese discourse of pirates in late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries when the European Age of Discovery began. During the times when “Japanese” pirates raided southeast coastal China, when Hideyoshi invaded Korea, and when the Manchus took over China, late Ming Chinese scholars composed histories and vernacular fiction to narrate pirates and China’s Orient in maritime Asia. Revising current scholarship on late imperial literature that is predicated on an inland China, this book argues that China’s trade, war, diplomacy, and migration across oceans shaped a highly malleable late Ming public sphere in which concepts of empire, race, and authenticity were intensively negotiated.

Ongoing Book Project