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“Environment in Asia” Reunion with a Tribute to Robert Marks and Peter Perdue

March 20 @ 8:45 am 5:15 pm

Organizer: Ling Zhang, Boston College; Convener of the Environment in Asia series

Note: Due to the limited capacity of the venue, the symposium will be a closed-door event. The public may view the event by registering for a Zoom Webinar. Register at https://harvard.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Fs-4nrYSTzSqYM6OtpgPHw.

The “Environment in Asia” research series at the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies is dedicated to promoting diverse environmental discourses and research methodologies within the field of Asian studies, especially the field of Chinese studies. Since its founding in 2012, the series has hosted dozens of lectures, panel discussions, conferences, film screenings, and art exhibitions. It has brought together scholars from various disciplinary and area studies backgrounds and has served as a platform to present their scholarship, exchange ideas, and form collaborations.

This symposium has two goals. First, it honors two founding speakers and long-time supporters of the Environment in Asia series, Professor Robert Marks and Professor Peter Perdue. It celebrates their life-long achievements as forerunners in the field of Chinese environmental history. Over the past four decades, Professor Marks and Professor Perdue have been tirelessly committed to studying and writing environmental history as well as to mentoring students and junior colleagues. Their scholarship and services have profoundly shaped how we understand and practice Chinese environmental history. The symposium is a tribute to these intellectual leaders of ours and their lasting impact on our community.

Second, as a reunion of the Environment in Asia series, the symposium brings back some old friends of the series, and it welcomes many new colleagues. More than celebrating the rich and eventful decade of the series, the symposium invites these scholars from diverse fields and different generations to gather and reflect on our common endeavor: How do we research, write, and teach environmental issues as humanities and social scientific scholars, and how do we promote environmental consciousness and model multi- and inter-disciplinary environmental scholarship in order to complicate and diversify the fields of Asian and Chinese studies, which are dominated by humancentric concerns and practices? The symposium invites its participants to review what we as a community of environmental scholars have achieved; to assess what works and what doesn’t; to suggest different paths and new possibilities; to identify our shared challenges; and to propose exciting experiments. Through individual presentations and group conversations, the symposium seeks to facilitate mutual understanding and mutual learning within our environmental-studies community. It aims to strengthen the community’s bond and to further its growth as an important, indispensable subfield of Asian and Chinese studies.


8:45–9:00 Welcome (Ling Zhang and Mark Wu)

9:00–10:30 Tigers, Rice, and the Dongting Lake: The Journeys toward Environmental History (Moderator: Ling Zhang)

10:30–10:45 Break

10:45–12:45 Researching the Environment (Moderator: Arunabh Ghosh)

12:45–13:30 Lunch

13:30–15:00 Writing the Environment (Moderator: Victor Seow)

15:00–15:15 Break

15:15–16:45 Teaching the Environment (Moderator: Brian Lander)

16:50¬–17:10 Closing (Robert Marks, Peter Perdue, and Ling Zhang)


Clark Alejandrino (Trinity College)
Nicole Barnes (Duke University)
David Bello (Washington and Lee University)
Tristan Brown (MIT): “Laws of the Land: Fengshui and the State in Qing Dynasty China”
Wesley Chaney (Bates College)
Chris Coggins (Bard College at Simon Rock)
Bradley Camp Davis (Eastern Connecticut State University)
Alexander F. Day (Occidental College)
Xiangli Ding (Rhode Island School of Design)
Qin Fang (McDaniel College)
Xiaofei Gao (University of Colorado, Denver): “The Nature of Labor: Integrating Environmental and Social Changes of Modern Maritime China”
Yan Gao (University of Memphis)
Yuan Gao (Georgetown University): “China’s Arid West: An Environmental History of Late Qing and Early Republican Xinjiang”
Arunabh Ghosh (Harvard University)
Yongqiang Guan (Nankai University, China)
Mary Alice Haddad (Wesleyan University)
Kyuhyun Han (University of California, Santa Cruz): “From Hunting for Local People to Hunting for the Nation: PRC Hunting Industry and Amur Tiger Conservation in Northeast China, 1949-1965”
Zhaoqing Han (Fudan University, China)
Michael Hathaway (Simon Fraser University, Canada)
Jack Hayes (Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Canada)
Emily M. Hill (Queen’s University, Canada)
Rui Hua (Boston University): “When Great States Mined on Drifting Continents: A Magnesium-based Story of Local Farmers and Global Mining Laws on the Liaodong Peninsula, 1.85GA-1931 AD”
Fei Huang (University of Tübingen, Germany)
Brian Lander (Brown University)
Peter Lavelle (University of Connecticut)
De-nin Lee (Emerson College)
John Lee (Durham University, UK): “Mongol Legacies and Island Ecologies in Early Modern Korea”
Robert Marks (Whitter College, Emeritus)
John McNeill (Georgetown University)
Caroline Merrifield (Yale University): “Practical Politics in China’s Food Movement”
Covell Meyskens (Naval Postgraduate School)
Ian J. Miller (Harvard University)
Ian M. Miller (St John’s University)
Ruth Mostern (University of Pittsburgh)
Micah Muscolino (University of California, San Diego)
Peter Perdue (Yale University, Emeritus)
Kenneth Pomeranz (University of Chicago)
Anne-Sophie Pratte (Georgetown University, Qatar): “Mapping Grasslands in 19th Century Qing Mongolia”
Ying Qian (Columbia University)
Guldana Salimjan (Simon Fraser University, Canada)
James Scott (Yale University)
Victor Seow (Harvard University)
Michael Szonyi (Harvard University)
Yuk Ping Wan (Brown University)
You Wang (University of Chicago)
R. Bin Wong (University of California, Los Angeles)
Donald Worster (University of Kansas, Emeritus)
Mingfang Xia (Remin University, China)
Bingru Yue (Queen’s University, Canada): “From Wetland to Ecological Model: Reclamations of Chongming Island, Shanghai, from 1950 to 2020”
Amy Zhang (New York University): “Waste’s Collectives: political and ecology in urban China”
Junfeng Zhang (Shanxi University, China)
Ling Zhang (Boston College)


March 20
8:45 am – 5:15 pm
Event Categories:


Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies


Presented via Zoom

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