Session Submission Summary

Direct link:

Living on the Boundaries: Social, Cultural, and Economic Intermediaries in Modern China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan

Sun, June 26, 1:00 to 2:50pm, Shikokan (SK), Floor: 1F, 106

Session Submission Type: Organized Panel Proposal Application


This panel explores social, economic, and cultural roles of middlemen operating in nineteenth and twentieth century China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Throughout the two centuries, China experienced rapid and large-scale diversification. This created many new geographical, social, and cultural boundary areas. At the same time, a variety of intermediaries including translators, brokers, and intellectuals came to be significant in commercial, political, and intellectual spheres. They acted as mediators or gatekeepers of different communities and cultures. To explore this theme, firstly Abe examines the socio-economic activities of Chinese intermediary merchants working with the foreign companies in nineteenth century Hong Kong. Then, Mak discusses the Protestant missionaries’ endeavours to compile annotations for the Chinese Bible, in order to make Christian teachings more understandable and acceptable to Chinese readers. Sawada investigates commercial activities of Fange, the trans-boundary actors between the inhabiting areas of the Chinese and aborigines in Formosa in the late Qing period. Johnson focuses on Dr. Lin Qiaozhi (1901-1981), a female physician who acted as an important mediator between Chinese and foreign scientific, medical and intellectual communities in the PRC. Finally, Fredman examines the Chinese War Area Service Corps (WASC), an institution established by Chiang Kai-shek, which provided housing, food, and cultural outreach for American servicemen in China during World War II. All in all, our panel elucidates the social and cultural importance of the middlemen who emerged in diverse yet highly segmented societies in the Chinese-speaking world in the modern era.

Area of Study

Session Organizer


Individual Presentations