China and the World; transpacific networks of migration and business; Sino-US relations; and new histories of East Asian capitalism
Peter E. Hamilton received his doctorate in History from the University of Texas at Austin in 2015. He is a historian of China and the World and the modern Pacific. His research explores transpacific networks of migration and business, Sino-US relations, and new histories of East Asian capitalism. He is currently preparing a book manuscript, “The Networked Colony: Hong Kong, American Social Capital, and China’s Globalization.” Based on his dissertation’s extensive archival research from across Hong Kong, Britain, and the United States, this work argues that Hong Kong’s rapid economic development between 1949 and 1978 provides essential context to understand China’s post-1978 export-driven development and today’s Sino-US trading relationship. In particular, Hamilton argues that Hong Kong transformed during the first decades of the Cold War, not as a “tiger” economy or as a British colony, but because its elite Chinese capitalists developed instrumental commercial and educational relationships with the United States. When mainland China initiated reforms in the late 1970s, Hong Kong’s transpacific networks midwifed its reintegration into global capitalism as a major US trading partner.
Hamilton has published peer-reviewed articles in The International History Review and The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society. He also has an anthology chapter forthcoming from the University of Hawai‘i Press. He is currently beginning research for his second project, which examines the expansion of the MBA degree across the Sinophone world since the 1960s.
A native of Kansas City, he graduated from Yale University in 2007, where he studied History and Mandarin Chinese. He served as a Yale-China Teaching Fellow at The Chinese University of Hong Kong’s New Asia College from 2007 to 2009. He joins Columbia after completing a postdoctoral fellowship at UT Austin’s Institute for Historical Studies.