Professor Wayne Patterson will present "Qing China's Informal Imperialism toward Late Choson: A New Look at Korea's 'Chinese Decade' of the 1880s." When discussing Korea's "Chinese Decade," roughly defined as the dozen or so years prior to the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895, most of the attention is focused on the heavy-handed activities of Yuan Shikai in Seoul. Less well known is that part of this Chinese effort to bind Korea more closely to China involved the absorption of Korea's newly-formed Maritime Customs Service [Haegwan]. Although several scholars have looked at this topic and this period, the newly-discovered correspondence of one of the first customs officials in Korea provides a new inside look at China's policy, replete with conspiracies of silence, whistle-blowing, and blackmailing.
Wayne Patterson has written or edited a dozen books on modern Korea, including The Korean Frontier in America (1994) and The Ilse (2000). His most recent book, which is the subject of this presentation, is In the Service of His Korean Majesty: William Nelson Lovatt, the Pusan Customs, and Sino-Korean Relations, 1876-1888 (Berkeley: University of California Institute of East Asian Studies Korea Research Monograph 35, 2012). He has held visiting professorships in Korean history at Harvard, Chicago, Berkeley, Kansas, South Carolina, and currently at the University of Pennsylvania, as well as at Korea, Ewha, Yonsei, and Sogang universities in Korea. His permanent position is as a professor of history at St. Norbert College in Wisconsin.
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