This course is an examination of the changing patterns through which the physical environment and culture are mutually formed in late imperial and modern China. Culture includes the creation of cosmological and social ideas as well as the long-term practices of settlement and utilization of the environment. In what ways did cultures represent limits to environmental exploitation? Special attention will be given to how communities and the state respond to environmental disasters and explore the feedback loops for protection and prevention. This course explores the importance of long-term understanding for the current environmental crisis in China.
Instructor: Professor Prasenjit Duara
Prasenjit Duara is the Oscar Tang Chair of East Asian Studies at Duke University. He was born and educated in India and received his PhD in Chinese history from Harvard University. He was previously Professor and Chair of the Dept of History and Chair of the Committee on Chinese Studies at the University of Chicago (1991-2008). Subsequently, he became Raffles Professor of Humanities and Director, Asia Research Institute at National University of Singapore (2008-2015).
In 1988, he published Culture, Power and the State: Rural North China, 1900-1942 (Stanford Univ Press) which won the Fairbank Prize of the AHA and the Levenson Prize of the AAS, USA. Among his other books are Rescuing History from the Nation (U Chicago 1995), Sovereignty and Authenticity: Manchukuo and the East Asian Modern (Rowman 2003) and most recently, The Crisis of Global Modernity: Asian Traditions and a Sustainable Future (Cambridge 2014). He has edited Decolonization: Now and Then (Routledge, 2004) and co-edited A Companion to Global Historical Thought with Viren Murthy and Andrew Sartori (John Wiley, 2014). His work has been widely translated into Chinese, Japanese, Korean and the European languages.