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James R. Fichter

Programme Director, Associate Professor

European Studies

Dr Fichter holds degrees from Brown University (BA) and Harvard University (MA and PhD, History). Prior to joining the University of Hong Kong, Dr Fichter was an associate professor of history, Lingnan University, also in Hong Kong.

• Research and Teaching Interests

European studies, European expansion overseas, English and other East India Companies, British and French colonial history and European imperialism generally, World War I, early modern Atlantic, relationship between Atlantic world and Indian and Pacific Oceans, environmental history, colonial American history as both British imperial and American history, American studies, US-China relations, Americans abroad, naval and maritime history, voyages of exploration, relationship between economic and environmental history, whaling, economic and business history, Suez Canal, coal, pepper, tea and other commodities, St. Helena and the Bahamas in British colonial world.

Dr Fichter is happy to advice MPhil and PhD theses. Applicants for MPhil and PhD programmes should submit a thesis proposal as part of their application. It is recommended that applicants develop proposals in conjunction with prospective advisor. He is happy to recommend topics.

Selected Publications

His most recent single‐authored book, So Great a Proffit: How the East Indies Transformed Anglo-American Capitalism, was published by Harvard University Press in 2010. It won the Thomas J. Wilson Memorial Prize from Harvard University Press and an honorable mention for the Ralph Gomory Prize from the Business History Conference. Other publications include essays on the Atlantic world and the British Empire, among them “The American Maritime Frontier and the British Empire on Tristan da Cunha, 1811-1816,” Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History (December 2008) and “British Infrastructure and French Empire: Anglo-French Steam Interdependency in Asian Waters, c. 1852-1870” Britain and the World 5 (September 2012). This last appeared in a special issued of of Britain and the World which he co-edited with Mark Hampton.

He is currently conducting research on the the Anglo-French imperial relationship in Asia for his next book Suez Passage to India: Britain, France and the Great Game at Sea, 1798-1885. Articles forthcoming, under review and in development include essays on the Boston Tea Party, tea and pepper prices, and the geopolitics of coal in 19th century Asia.

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