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Ghassan Moazzin


After finishing high school in Germany I came to Cambridge in 2008 to read Chinese Studies at St Catharine's College. During my undergraduate studies I spent periods of study at Taiwan Normal University and the Ocean University of China in Qingdao. After writing a dissertation on Sino-German relations in Shandong from 1899 to 1901, I received my BA in June 2012 before returning to Cambridge to commence my PhD in October 2012. For the period between September 2013 and December 2014, I was a visiting scholar at the Department of History, East China Normal University. During October 2014 I was a visiting scholar at the Institute of Modern History, Academia Sinica, Taiwan.

Subject groups/Research projects

Chinese Studies:

Research Interests

Current Research

My current work examines the role foreign and specifically German bankers played in the history of modern economic globalisation in China during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. By following the history of the Deutsch-Asiatische Bank (DAB, Chinese: 德華銀行) during the last two decades of the Qing dynasty and the early years of the Chinese republic, I aim to show how the interaction between foreign bankers and Chinese officials, bankers and merchants led to the rapid internationalisation of Chinese state finance and the Chinese banking sector on the China coast. Unlike the common narrative that depicts foreign banks in modern China as mere manifestations of foreign imperialism, my study attempts to demonstrate that foreign banks like the DAB and the transnational networks it built with Chinese actors provided the financial infrastructure that made modern globalisation in China possible. At the same time, I also scrutinise the role money played in the construction of modern Sino-foreign relations. I suggest in my dissertation that an understanding of the role international financial institutions like the DAB played in this process does not only help us understand the history of globalisation in China at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries but is also important if we wish to understand China’s current engagement with global financial markets, public debt and foreign businesses.

Other Professional Activities

Selected Presentations
  • Entering a New Market for International Banking: Foreign Banks in the Chinese Banking Sector, 1880-1914, Association for Asian Studies Annual Conference, Toronto, Canada, March 2017.
  • Investing in the New Republic: International Finance and the 1911 Revolution in China, “Command Economies and State Intervention in Economic History” Conference, London School of Economics and Political Science, 12/2016.
  • Networks of Capital: German Bankers and China’s Financial Internationalisation, 1885-1919, China Research Seminar, Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom, 10/2016.
  • Bond Markets, Credit and the New Chinese Republic: Western Bankers and the 1911 Republican Revolution in China, Credit, Currency & Commerce: New Perspectives in Financial and Monetary History Conference, Centre for Financial History, University of Cambridge, September 2016.
  • Finance, Power and Globalisation: German Bankers and China's Financial Internationalisation (1885-1919), Financial History Workshop, University of Cambridge, June 2016.
  • Finance, Power and Globalisation: German Bankers and the Rise of International Banking in China (1885-1919), German History Workshop, University of Cambridge, May 2015.
  • Money, Personal Trust and the Building of Transnational Financial Networks: The Early Loan Business of the Deutsch-Asiatische Bank in China (1890-1894), "Germans in the Pacific World from the late 17th to 20th Century" Conference, UC San Diego, March 2015.

  • Deutsche Bankiers, Transnationale Netzwerke und die Internationalisierung Chinas: Die Deutsch-Asiatische Bank in China (1889-1917), Seminar for East Asian Studies, Free University Berlin, July 2014.

  • Bankers, Diplomats and War: The Deutsch-Asiatische Bank during the First World War in China, "Rethinking Modern Chinese Business History" Conference, Organised by the Freie Universität Berlin, Hannover, June 2014.
  • 银行家、跨国网络与全球化:以德华银行与津浦铁路交涉为例 [Bankers, Transnational Networks and Globalisation: The case of the Deutsch-Asiatische Bank and the Tianjin-Pukou railway negotiations], Invited talk at the Second Forum for Global History, Capital Normal University, Beijing, June 2014.

  • 跨国网络、金钱与权力:德华银行与津浦铁路交涉(1898-1908)[Transnational Networks, Money and Power: The Deutsch-Asiatische Bank and the Tianjin-Pukou Railway Negotiations (1898-1908), Annual Meeting of the Shanghai Association for World History, Fudan University, November 2013.
  • Finance, "Transnational Contact Networks" and Power: the Tianjin-Pukou railway negotiations and the "contact zone" of Tianjin, China Postgraduate Network Annual Conference, University of Leicester, June 2013.

  • Finance, Transnational Networks and the Internationalisation of China: The Deutsch-Asiatische Bank in China (1889 - 1917) , Graduate Symposium, Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Cambridge, May 2013.

  • Sino-German networks and China's Internationalisation: The case of the Deutsch-Asiatische Bank, Modern German History Research Seminar, Wolfson College, University of Cambridge, May 2013.