Fulbright Forum – May 27, 2011

Dr. Wayne Patterson

Maritime Customs and Chinese Imperialism in the 1880s: A New Look at Korea’s “Chinese Decade”

Using the newly-discovered correspondence of Pusan’s first commissioner of customs (1883-1886), the British American William Nelson Lovatt, this Forum presents a new perspective on China’s attempt to dominate Korea before the Sino-Japanese War. While most studies concentrate on Yuan Shikai, the Chinese “Resident” in Seoul, this new perspective adds to our understanding of this critical period in late Choson Korea by examining how Korea’s fledgling customs service was seen as an inviting target for those in China who wanted to control Korea directly rather than the indirect method preferred by Li Hongzhang.


Dr. Wayne Patterson holds two master’s degrees (history, international relations), as well as a doctorate degree in international relations, from the University of Pennsylvania. He currently teaches at St. Norbert College in Green Bay, Wisconsin, before which he served as a visiting professor at Harvard University, the University of Chicago, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Hawaii-Manoa, the University of Maryland, Vanderbilt University, the University of South Carolina, the University of Kansas, the University of the Philippines (as a Korea Foundation Visiting Professor), Ewha University, Korea University, Yonsei University (as a Fulbright Distinguished Lecturer), and the University of California-Berkeley. He has authored thirteen books including The Korean Frontier in America: Immigration to Hawaii, 1896-1910 (Hawaii, 1994) and The Ilse: First-Generation Korean Immigrants in Hawaii, 1903-1973 (Hawaii, 2000). Dr. Patterson’s upcoming book, In the Service of His Korean Majesty: William Nelson Lovatt, the Pusan Customs, and Sino-Korean Relations, 1876-1888, is scheduled for publication this fall by the University of California.