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Sander Molenaar

Research topic

I am a Ph.D. candidate currently working on coastal banditry in Zhangzhou (south China) during the 15th and 16th centuries. Coastal banditry in the Ming period is often studied within the framework of international politics and maritime trade networks, in particular during the late 16th century peak of coastal raiding on Chinese coasts. I argue that this perspective elevates international piracy at the cost of local, endemic forms of banditry that preceded and outlasted periods of heightened pirate activity. Shifting focus to the study of bandit groups in local society provides insight in the sociopolitical history of local communities and the interaction between state and society.


Teaching assistant, Leiden University, April-June 2017

• Modern Korean History (BA-level)

Course instructor, Leiden University, February-June 2017

• Classical Chinese (MA-level)

Teaching assistant, Leiden University, January 2010-June 2012

• Classical Chinese (BA-level)


Molenaar, Sander. “Traveling with Fei Xin and Ma Huan” (under review) in Travel Writing in South East Asia (working title), edited by Sanjib Sahoo. Tezpur: Tezpur University

Molenaar, Sander. “Portuguese Melaka at the center of a maritime empire?” Review of The Portuguese and the Straits of Melaka, 1575-1619: Power, Trade, and Diplomacy by Paulo Jorge de Sousa Pinto. In Newsbook.Asia, September 20, 2013.

Molenaar, Sander. “Nomads of the Sea: How the Mongols Learned to Sail.” In Rombouts Graduate Conference Proceedings, edited by Rens Krijgsman, 55-69. Leiden: Stichting Shilin, 2012.

Molenaar, Sander. “Book Review: China and Maritime Europe, 1500-1800.” Review of China and Maritime Europe, 1500-1800: Trade, Settlement, Diplomacy, and Missions, by John Wills Jr., ed. In Shilin, Leiden University Journal of Young Sinology vol. 4.1 (2013): 63-9.


Molenaar, Sander. “Caught between Empire and the Sea: Zhangzhou and Chaozhou, 1449-1567.” Paper presented at the Graduate Conference: Empire and Imperialism in Early Modern Asia, National University of Singapore, November 27-8 2014.

Molenaar, Sander. “Nomads of the Sea: How the Mongols Learned to Sail.” Paper presented at the Rombouts Graduate Conference: Globalization and Glocalization in China, Leiden University, September 6-7, 2011.

Molenaar, Sander - profile picture

Sander Molenaar

Sander dot Molenaar at warwick dot ac dot uk