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Environment in Asia Series featuring Yiyun Peng and Brian Spivey – Herbaceous Revolution and Environmental Protection: Introducing New Scholarship in Chinese Environmental History
November 20 @ 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm
Yiyun Peng, D. Kim Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of History, University of Chicago
Brian Spivey, Mellon Faculty Fellow, History Department, UC Irvine
Series Convener: Ling Zhang, Associate Professor, Boston College
Yiyun Peng received her PhD in history from Cornell University in August 2023 and is currently the D. Kim Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of History at the University of Chicago. She works on late imperial and modern China and is mainly interested in environmental history, the history of science and technology, and economic history. Her first project demonstrates how a few popular cash crops and the handicraft industries processing them into commodities—indigo dye, bamboo paper, tobacco, and ramie (a fiber plant) cloth—led to a herbaceous revolution in upland Southeast China from the sixteenth to the mid-twentieth century, which profoundly transformed the region’s environment and society. In its dissertation form, this project won the 2023 Messenger Chalmers Prize for the best dissertation in the Department of History at Cornell University. Her second project looks into the production and circulation of ramie in East Asia and beyond.
Brian Spivey is currently a Mellon Faculty Fellow in the History Department at UC Irvine. His work broadly focuses on the reciprocal relationship between environmental and societal change in modern China. His current research project examines how growing global and local awareness of pollution and other unintended side-effects of industrialization during the late Cultural Revolution (1970-1976) drove the early development of environmental protection efforts (“huanjing baohu”) and discussions about sustainable growth in China. He also researches the history of Xinjiang and the Uyghur people, especially during the 1980s.
Also via Zoom.