History Department
History Department

Adam Clulow

ProfessorPh.D., 2008, Columbia University

Adam Clulow



Adam Clulow is a historian of early modern Asia. His work is concerned broadly with the transnational circulation of ideas, people, practices and commodities across East and Southeast Asia. Dr. Clulow’s first book, The Company and the Shogun: The Dutch Encounter with Tokugawa Japan, was published in 2014 and received the Jerry Bentley Book Prize for World History from the American Historical Association, the International Convention of Asia Scholars (ICAS) 2015 Humanities Book Prize, the Forum on European Expansion and Global Interaction 2015 Book Prize, and the W.K. Hancock Prize from the Australian Historical Association.  The traditional Chinese translation of The Company and the Shogun (Gōngsī yǔ mùfǔ) was awarded the China Times Open Book Award in 2020. His second book, Amboina, 1623: Conspiracy and Fear on the Edge of Empire, was published by Columbia University Press in 2019. It was shortlisted for the New South Wales Premiers General History Book Prize and was a runner-up for the 2020 Robert W. Hamilton Book Award.

Dr Clulow is the editor of four books: with D.V. Botsman, Commemorating Meiji: History, Politics and the Politics of History (Routledge, 2021); with Tristan Mostert, The Dutch and English East India Companies: Diplomacy, Trade and Violence in Early Modern Asia (Amsterdam University Press, 2018); with Lauren Benton and Bain Attwood, Protection and Empire: A Global History (Cambridge University Press, 2017), and Statecraft and Spectacle in East Asia: Studies in Taiwan-Japan Relations (Routledge, 2011 and 2013). His research has been supported by the American Council of Learned Societies, the Australian Research Council, the Fung Global Fellows Program (Princeton University), the Japan Foundation, the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science and the Mellon Foundation.

Dr. Clulow is the creator of the Amboyna conspiracy trial, an interactive Digital Humanities project focused on a famous seventeenth century case that took place in what is now Indonesia.  It received the New South Wales Premiers History Award (Multimedia History Prize) in 2017. Along with colleagues at Monash University, he developed the Virtual Angkor project which aims to recreate the sprawling Cambodian metropolis of Angkor at the height of the Khmer Empire’s power and influence around 1300. It received the American Historical Association’s Roy Rosenzweig Prize for Innovation in Digital History and the 2021 Digital Humanities and Multimedia Studies Prize from the Medieval Academy of America. 

At UT, Dr Clulow is the Editor of Not Even Past, a Public History magazine that received over 720,000 page views last year, and the co-creator with Daina Ramey Berry of the Beyond 2020 project.  In 2019, he founded Epoch: History Games Initiative which is designed to generate a pipeline of historically based video games for use in high schools, community colleges and universities. Its first game, Ako: A Tale of Loyalty, was developed in Spring 2020 and is now available for use in the classroom.  Alongside Kirsten Cather and Mark Ravina, he is the creator of JapanLab, which aims to design a new template for Japanese Studies by integrating Digital Humanities across all aspects of the curriculum. For his work in bringing technology into the humanities classroom, Dr Clulow has received faculty, university and national teaching prizes for outstanding contributions to student learning.



HIS 350L • Piracy In East Asia

39660 • Fall 2021
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM CAL 200

Although piracy was a global phenomenon, most people associate pirates with a brief moment in which predominantly European pirates were active in locations like the Caribbean. In fact, piracy was central to East Asian history. In the sixteenth century, Japan-based pirates launched massive raids of China and Korea while in the nineteenth century Chinese pirates mustered tens of thousands of fighters and hundreds of vessels.  While the immense scale of East Asian piracy is important, pirates had a reach that extended far beyond violent attacks on the coast or seizures of vessels.  Pirates operated on the maritime fringes of powerful territorial states.  In large part because of this position on the margins, their activities helped bind East Asia together into an integrated zone of economic and cultural exchange. In this way, they formed the leading edge of early modern globalization, linking diverse economies and societies together.  

Because they were so important, states often tried to co-opt pirates, using former maritime predators to form navies or to hunt down other pirates.  Confronted by state power, some pirate leaders attempted to forge independent kingdoms of their own while others, including remarkable women like Cheng I Sao, created powerful maritime confederations. By looking at the lives, communities, careers and wider impact of pirates, both male and female, we’re able to uncover new ways to understand the history of this key area.  Our focus throughout the class is on maritime East Asia, a region which stretches from the Sea of Okhotsk down through the East China Sea to the South China Sea.  Our discussion will thus encompass Japan, Korea, China and Taiwan but we will also look further to Southeast Asia.  The label of pirate was never a precise or uncontroversial designation and we will explore maritime violence across a broad spectrum from supposedly legal privateering to illicit attacks on vessels and coasts and everything in between. As such we will consider European chartered companies like the Dutch East India Company, maritime and military entrepreneurs like Zheng Chenggong or Cheng I Sao, and a range of state-sponsored pirates who blurred the lines between legal and illegal violence.

Weekly Readings

C. R. Pennell (ed.), Bandits at Sea: A Pirates Reader (New York: NYU Press, 2001), excerpts
Anne Peìrotin-Dumon, “The pirate and the emperor: power and the law on the seas, 1450-1850”, in Bandits at Sea: A Pirates Reader (New York: NYU Press, 2001), Bandits at Sea: A Pirates Reader (New York: NYU Press, 2001).

Bruce L. Batten, Gateway to Japan: Hakata in War and Peace, 500-1300 (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2006), 11-49, 81-140.

Louise Levathes, When China Ruled the Seas (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 1994), 75-122, 167-181.

Benjamin Hazard, “The Formative Years of the Wako, 1223-63,” Monumenta Nipponica22.3/4 (1967), 260-77.

Cesar V. Callanta, The Limahong Invasion (Manila: New Day Publishers, 1989), 1-70.

Robert Antony (ed.), Elusive Pirates, Pervasive Smugglers: Violence and Clandestine Trade in the Greater China Seas (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2010), 27-71.

Masashi Haneda and Mihoko Oka, A Maritime History of East Asia (Kyoto University Press/Trans Pacific Press, 2019).

Adam Clulow, The Company and the Shogun: The Dutch Encounter with Tokugawa Japan (New York: Columbia University Press, 2014), 135-170, 205-231.

PETER BORSCHBERG. Hugo Grotius, the Portuguese and Free Trade in the East
Indies. Singapore: NUS Press, 2011

Peter D. Shapinsky. Lords of the Sea: Pirates, Violence, and Commerce in Late Medieval Japan. Ann Arbor: Center for Japanese Studies Publications, University of Michigan, 2014

Peter D. Shapinsky, Predators, Protectors, and Purveyors: Pirates and Commerce
in Late Medieval Japan,Monumenta Nipponica, Volume 64, Number 2, Autumn 2009, pp. 273-313

Emily Sohmer Tai, Marking Water: Piracy and Property in the Pre-Modern West

Adam Clulow, “The Pirate and the Warlord,” Journal of Early Modern History 16.2 (2012): 523-542.
Tonio Andrade, Lost Colony: The Untold Story of China's First Great Victory Over the West (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2011), 20-59.

Dahpon David Ho, “The Burning Shore: Fujian and the Coastal Depopulation, 1661-1683,” in Tonio Andrade and Xing Hang (eds.), Sea Rovers, Silver, and Samurai: Maritime East Asia in Global History: 1550-1700 (Honolulu: University of Hawai`i Press, 2016), pp. 60-89.

Xing Hang, Conflict and Commerce in Maritime East Asia: The Zheng Family and the Shaping of the Modern World, c. 1620-1720 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2015), 146-240

Tonio Andrade, “The Company’s Chinese Pirates: How the Dutch East India Company
Tried to Lead a Coalition of Pirates to War against China, 1621-1662,” Journal of
World History 15, no. 4 (2004): 415-444.

Jurgis Elisonas, “The Inseparable Trinity: Japan’s Relations with China and Korea,” in
John Whitney Hall, ed. The Cambridge History of Japan, Volume 4, Early Modern Japan
(Cambridge, 1991),

Kwan-wai So, Japanese Piracy in Ming China during the 16th Century (East Lansing: Michigan State University Press,1975).

Robert Hellyer, “Poor but not Pirates: The Tsushima Domain and Foreign Relations in Early Modern Japan,” in R. Antony, ed., Elusive Pirates, Pervasive Smugglers: Violence and Clandestine Trade in the Greater China Seas (Hong Kong, 2010), 115-126.

Robert Ritchie, Captain Kidd and the War against the Pirates (Cambridge, 1986)

Robert Antony, “ ‘Righteous Yang’: Pirate, Rebel, and Hero on the Sino-Vietnamese Water Frontier, 1644-1684,” Cross-Currents: East Asian History and Culture Review 11 (2014): 4-30. https://cross-currents.berkeley.edu/e-journal/issue-11/antony

John L. Anderson. “Piracy and World History: An Economic Perspective on Maritime Predation.” In Bandits at Sea, ed. C. R. Pennell, pp. 82–106. New York University Press, 2001.

Dian H. Murray, Pirates of the South China Coast (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1987),

Attendance, Preparation and Participation - 10%
Reading Grids – 10%
Midterm – 15%
Assignment 1: Piracy Imagery Exercise 10%
Assignment 2: Maritime Asia Classroom Exercise and Paper – 15%
Assignment 3: Piracy Portfolio (bibliography, outline and poster presentation) – 25%
Final Exam – 15%

HIS 350L • Global Commodities: Asia And T

38720 • Spring 2020
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM RLP 0.122
GCIIWr (also listed as ANS 361)

This course explores the vital role of commodities in Asian history with a particular focus on East and Southeast Asia.  It examines a range of key commodities from silver to deerskins to soybeans that were exchanged across Asia and which came to transform the political, economic and social contours of the region while underpinning the construction of empire.  The focus is on how the spread of commodities created a global economy while reshaping both sites of production and consumption.  By weaving together the stories of different commodities, this course aims to present a different way to understand the history of early modern and modern Asia and the development of global capitalism.


Pomeranz, Kenneth, and Steven Topik. The World That Trade Created: Society, Culture, and the World Economy, 1400 to the Present (Armonk, NY and London: M. E. Sharpe, 1999)


Rose, Sarah. For All the Tea in China: How England Stole the World's Favorite Drink and Changed History (Penguin Books, 2011)


Weekly Readings


Flynn, Dennis. O and Arturo Giraldez. “Born with a ‘Silver Spoon’: The Origin of World Trade in 1571.” Journal of World History 6.2 (1995): 201-21.


Flynn, Dennis O., and Arturo Giráldez. 1994a. “China and the Manila Galleons.” In Japanese Industrialization and the Asian Economy, ed. A. J. H. Latham and H. Kawakatsu. London.


Excerpts from Von Glahn, Richard. Fountain of Fortune: Money and Monetary Policy in China, 1000–1700 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996)


Flynn, Dennis O., and Arturo Giráldez, “Cycles of Silver: Global Economic Unity through the Mid- Eighteenth Century,” Journal of World History 13.2 (2002): 391-427.


Hochstrasser, Julie Berger, “The Conquest of Spice and the Dutch Colonial Imaginary. Seen and Unseen in the Visual Culture of Trade,” pp. 169-186, in Schiebinger, Londa and Claudia Swan (eds.), Colonial Botany: Science, Commerce, and Politics (Pennsylvania University Press, 2005)


  1. L. van Zanden, The Rise and Decline of Holland's Economy. Merchant. Capitalism and the Labor Market (Manchester: Manchester University. Press, 1993), 67-81


Excerpts from Adam Clulow, Amboina, 1623: Conspiracy and Fear on the Edge of Empire (Columbia University Press, 2019)


Koo, Hui-wen, “Deer Hunting and Preserving the Commons in Dutch Colonial Taiwan,” Journal of Interdisciplinary History 42.2 (2011): 185-203.


Laver, Michael, “Skins in the Game: The Dutch East India Company, Deerskins, and the Japan Trade,” World History Bulletin 28:2. Fall (2012): 13-16.


Walker, Brett, The Conquest of Ainu Lands: Ecology and Culture in Japanese Expansion, 1590-1800 (Berkeley and London: University of California Press, 2001).


Gerritsen, Anne. “Fragments of a Global Past: Ceramics Manufacture in Song-Yuan- Ming Jingdezhen,” Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient, 52 (2009), pp. 117-152.


Gerritsen, Anne and Stephen McDowall, 'Material Culture and the Other: European Encounters with Chinese Porcelain 1650-1800', Journal of World History, 23, 2012, pp. 87-113.


Gerritsen, Anne ‘Chinese Porcelain Local and Global Context: the Imperial Connection’, Luxury in Global Perspective: Commodities and Practices, c. 1600-2000, Bernd-Stefan Grewe (Universität Konstanz) and Karin Hofmeester (IISH Amsterdam), eds. (Cambridge University Press, 2017).


Dillon, Michael, Transport and Marketing in the Development of the Jingdezhen Porcelain Industry During the Ming and Qing Dynasties,” Journal of the Social and Economic History of the Orient 35 (1992), 278-90.


Carol Benedict, “Between State Power and Popular desire: tobacco in Pre-Conquest Manchuria, 1600–1644.” Late Imperial China 32 (1):13–48.


Mathee, Rudi, “Exotic Substances: The Introduction and Global Spread of Tobacco, Coffee, Cocoa, Tea, and Distilled Liquor, Sixteenth to Eighteenth Centuries,” in Roy Porter and Mikulás Teich, eds. Drugs and Narcotics in History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995).


Screech, Timon. “Tobacco in Edo Period Japan.” In Smoke: A Global History of

Smoking, eds. Sander L. Gilman and Zhou Xun, 92–99 (London: Reaktion Books, 2004)


Excerpts from Shelagh Vainker, Chinese Silk: A Cultural History (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2004)


Excerpts from Xing Hang, Conflict and Commerce in Maritime East Asia: The Zheng Family and the Shaping of the Modern World, c. 1620-1720 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2016).


Chan Ying-Kit, “The Founding of Singapore and the Chinese Kongsis of West Borneo,”

Journal of Cultural Interaction in East Asia, 7 (2016),  99-121


Tagliacozzo, Eric.  “A Necklace of Fins: Marine Goods Trading in Maritime Southeast Asia, 1780–1860.” International Journal of Asian Studies 1, no. 1 (2004), 23–48.


Tagliacozzo, Eric. 2011. “A Sino-Southeast Asian Circuit: Ethnohistories of the

Marine Goods Trade.” In Chinese Circulations: Capital, Commodities, and

Networks in Southeast Asia, edited by Eric Tagliacozzo and Wen-Chin Chang,

  1. 432-454. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.


Excerpts from Trocki, Carl A. Opium, empire and the global political economy: A study of the Asian opium trade, 1750 –1950, Asia’s transformations (London and New York: Routledge, 1999)


Carl A. Trocki. Opium as a Commodity in the Chinese Nanyang Trade, in Chinese Circulations: Capital, Commodities, and Networks in Southeast Asia, Edited by  Eric Tagliacozzo and Wen-chin Chang (Duke University Press, 2011)


James Hevia, “Opium, Empire, and Modern History”. China Review International  10.2 (2003): 307–326


Excerpts from Eric Jay Dolin, Leviathan: The History of Whaling in America. (New York: W. W. Norton, 2007)


Wiley, Peter Booth. Yankees in the Land of the Gods: Commodore Perry and the Opening of Japan (New York: Viking Penguin, 1990)


  1. H. Drabble, Rubber in Malaya 1876–1922: The Genesis of the Industry (Oxford University Press, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, 1973)


Hagan, J. & Wells, A. D. 'The British and rubber in Malaya, c1890-1940', in G. Patmore, J. Shields & N. Balnave (eds), The Past is Before Us: Proceedings of the Ninth National Labour History Conference, ASSLH, Business & Labour History Group, University of Sydney, Australia (2005), pp. 143-150.

Excerpts from Louise Young. Japan’s Total Empire: Manchuria and the Culture of Wartime Imperialism (University of California Press, 1998)

Ines Prodöhl, "A Miracle Bean". How Soy Conquered the West, 1909-1950 · Bulletin of the GHI Washington, Issue 45 (Fall 2009)


Attendance, Preparation and Participation- 10%

Assignment 1: Amboina Trial Group Exercise - 15%

Assignment 2: Commodity History Book Review - 20%

Assignment 3: Commodity Portfolio, poster presentation and reflective

paper – 30%

Final Exam: 25%

HIS 364G • The Age Of The Samurai

38405 • Fall 2019
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM ART 1.110
GC (also listed as ANS 372)

This course explores the history of Japan via an examination of the complex and ever changing figure of the samurai. The focus is broadly on the period from 1185 to 1867 when Japan was ruled by a succession of warrior regimes but the course will also examine the evolution of samurai images and representations. The central concern is with the changing nature of the historical samurai across this long period and with the constant tension between the ideals put forward about the way of the warrior and the actual realities of samurai life.


Required texts:


Pierre Francois Souyri. The World Turned Upside Down. (New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 2001)


Ikegami, Eiko. The Taming of the Samurai: Honorific Individualism and the Making of Modern Japan (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1997)


Constantine Vaporis, ed. Voices of Early Modern Japan: Contemporary Accounts of Daily Life During the Age of the Shoguns (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2013)


Nitobe, Inazo, Bushido, The Soul of Japan: An Exposition of Japanese Thought (Tokyo, 1899), available via archive.org



Attendance, Preparation and Participation – 10%

Annotation of Readings – 10%

First Assignment: Research Proposal: The Pitch, 5%

Second Assignment: Research Paper – 25%

Third Assignment: Research Proposal: Final Submission 25%

Final exam – 25%