Bringing to bear the latest developments across various areas of research and disciplines, this collection provides a broad perspective on how Western Europe made sense of a complex, multi-faceted, and by and large Sino-centered East and Southeast Asia. The volume covers the transpacific period--after Magellan's opening of the transpacific route to the Far East and before the eventual dominance of the region by the British and the Dutch. In contrast to the period of the Enlightenment, during which Orientalist discourses arose, this initial period of encounters and conquest is characterized by an enormous curiosity and a desire to seize--not only materially but intellectually--the lands and peoples of East Asia. The essays investigate European visions of the Far East--particularly of China and Japan--and examine how and why particular representations of Asians and their cultural practices were constructed, revised, and adapted. Collectively, the essays show that images of the Far East were filtered by worldviews that ranged from being, on the one hand, universalistic and relatively equitable towards cultures to the other extreme, unilaterally Eurocentric.
Christina H. Lee is Research Scholar with Continuing Appointment in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Princeton University, USA.
'... a wonderful example of careful, thoughtful scholarship. ... The essays are so well-chosen and well-arranged that the book can be read straight from beginning to end as a single, cohesive work.' Terrae Incognitae 'The essays in Lee's collection focus mainly on Spanish and Portuguese texts and thereby expand our knowledge of the Early Modern's encounters with the racial-cultural Other, in this case the Far East. Essays like Koss's in the volume are particularly fascinating for their focus on cultural productions and their politics of editing and adaptation. As a person familiar only with English textual materials on Asia, I was much benefited through Lee's volume, as I discovered the wealth of work on China.' Seventeenth Century News 'A splendid collection of perceptive essays. The volume fills a gap in current scholarship on European-Asian cultural exchange by raising key questions about global inequalities and proposing important arguments about the "transpacific age." This volume brings together scholars from a range of disciplines to examine Western European knowledge and imaginations of a Sino-centered Far East before British and Dutch domination in the region.' Alexander C. Y. Huang, George Washington University, USA ’Western Visions will make even seasoned historians more deeply aware of the wealth of primary and secondary sources--including cartographic sources--all too often overlooked in studies of East/West exchange in the early modern period. Professor Lee’s volume is intelligently designed; the essays are savvy, original, and refreshingly free of nation-centered parochialisms. This volume should be in the library of every serious historian of transpacific cultural exchange.’ Martin Powers, University of Michigan 'Offering wide-ranging scrutiny of Iberian interactions with the Far East, this very practical anthology makes a valuable contribution to early modern studies collections; it models the engagement of materials specifically relevant