Sean Cronan

PhD Candidate

East Asia: China


My work focuses on East and Southeast Asian diplomatic encounters from the thirteenth to eighteenth centuries. I trace the development of new shared diplomatic norms following the Mongol conquests of Eurasia, as well as how rulers and scholar-officials in the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing Dynasties (1644-1911) institutionalized and challenged these new norms. I explore how ideas of multipolarity, regime legitimacy, and the makeup of the interstate order came under debate throughout the Mongol Empire, Ming China, the Qing Empire, Chosŏn Korea, Dai Viet (Northern Vietnam), Japan, the Ayutthaya Kingdom of Thailand, the Pagan Kingdom of Burma, and beyond. I work with sources in Chinese (literary Sinitic), Japanese, Thai, Burmese, Manchu, and Dutch.

Research Interests

  • Diplomatic History
  • Institutional History 
  • Intellectual History
  • Maritime History
  • Global History
  • Early Modern 

Awards and Fellowships 

  • Asian Studies on the Pacific Coast (ASPAC) Jeffrey Barlow Graduate Student Prize in Chinese Studies – 2022
  • Dr. C.F. Koo and Cecilia Koo Chair Fellowship in East Asian Studies – 2022
  • Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Summer Award: Korean – 2022
  • Berkeley History Department Graduate Seminar Paper Prize for paper “The Qi Regime and the Interstate System in Twelfth Century China, 1127-1138”  – 2022
  • Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Summer Award: Burmese – 2021
  • Berkeley History Department Graduate Seminar Paper Prize for paper “The Making of an Imperial Resource: a Pre-history of the Canton System (1683–1757)” – 2021
  • Beinecke Scholar – 2018-present 
  • Hunter R. Rawlings III Presidential Research Grant, Cornell University – 2017-2019