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The River Dragon Has Indeed Come! –– Chinese Floods and Flood Management in 2020 and in the Past

August 6, 2020 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Clark ALEJANDRINO, Trinity College
Chris COURTNEY, Durham University
Xiangli DING, Rhode Island School of Design
Yan GAO, University of Memphis

Moderator: Ling Zhang, Boston College

About the Speakers:

Clark Alejandrino teaches at Trinity College. Clark finished a Ph.D. in East Asian Environmental History at Georgetown University. He specializes in the environmental history of China, especially its climate and animal history, covering the fifth to the twentieth century in his research. He is currently preparing a book manuscript on typhoons in the history of the South China coast and preparing to embark on a new project exploring the history of migratory birds in East Asia. At Trinity, he teaches courses on Chinese history, environmental history, world history, and Pacific history.

Chris Courtney teaches at Durham University (UK). Chris is a social and environmental historian of China, specializing on the history of Wuhan and its hinterland. His previous research focused upon the history of nature-induced disasters in the 19th and 20th centuries. His monograph The Nature of Disaster in China examined the history of the 1931 Central China Flood. It was awarded the 2019 John K Fairbanks Prize. Chris has also published on topics including the history of environmental religion, fire disasters, and Maoist flood (mis)management. His current research focuses on the problem of heat in modern Chinese cities. Using a combination of archival and oral history he is examining how people coped with extreme temperatures through a period of rapid cultural, political and technological change. He explores how emergent technologies such as ice factories, electric fans, and air conditioning transformed the cultural and social landscape of urban China.

Xiangli Ding teaches at the Rhode Island School of Design. His research interests focus on the confluence of nature, technologies, economy and political forces in modern China and how that confluence has changed Chinese people’s lives and their relationship with the natural environment. His first book project, Transforming Waters: Hydroelectricity, State Making and Social Changes in 20th-Century China, examines the rise of hydroelectricity in modern China and argues that political powers aided by hydro-technologies consumed not only the natural resources at an unprecedented pace and scale, but also marginalized local communities in the making of the modern hydropower regime.

Yan Gao teaches at the University of Memphis. Yan specializes in social and environmental history of late imperial and modern China, and her research focuses on water management of the central Yangzi region. She obtained her Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University and held a few research and teaching positions around the world. She was a Carson fellow at the Rachel Carson Center of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, a visiting post-doctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, and a Research Associate at the Global Asia Initiative of Duke University. She has published several scholarly articles. Yan is finalizing a book entitled “Yangzi Waters: Transforming the Water Regime in Late Imperial China.”

Part of the Environment in Asia series at the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, Harvard University

This event is a Zoom webinar. Registration is required.
Click here to register.


August 6, 2020
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
Event Category:


Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies

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