Jacob Fordham


University College


DPhil Oriental Studies



Educational Background:

  • 2020–: DPhil Oriental Studies, University of Oxford
  • 2018–2019: MA Translation Studies, University of Sheffield
  • 2018: Diploma in Translation, Chartered Institute of Linguists
  • 2010–2015: BA (Hons) Chinese Studies, University of Sheffield

Research Interests:

My DPhil thesis, based on Chinese, Portuguese, and English archives, is a microhistory of the linguists (通事 or jurubaças) of the seventeenth-century Pearl River Delta and their role in the early English Canton trade. These linguists, as negotiators, brokers, and mediators, were at the centre of English interaction with Chinese and Portuguese merchants and officials of Canton and Macau; in shifting the historical lens to focus on these understudied figures, I hope to shed new light on the early history of Sino-British relations.

My research is funded by the Clarendon Fund, the AHRC, and a University College Senior Scholarship. I am supervised by Professor Henrietta Harrison.


Jacob Fordham